Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

I'm not the sort of person that sets New Year's resolutions. I try to look at things I'd like to improve and I work towards that instead.

Some goals for this year:
  • take more photographs (might try to do the take one photograph a day project again)
  • try to do one creative act a day
  • bead more often
  • organize my bead stash
  • be more judicious about the beads I buy
  • to get caught up with the Beaded Journal Page project
  • journal more often
  • read more
  • watch tv less (that's been a perennial goal)
  • listen to more music
  • go to see more art either in galleries or at museums
  • to learn how to use Photoshop Elements to my advantage
Today's quote comes from Lady Bird Johnson: Art is the window to man's soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within.

Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds

Went to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan on Friday.

It was my first visit to this art center and the center is beautiful. The gallery spaces are great.

Saw the show Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds which focused on outsider art and people who filled their worlds with their own art. Some of the artists had training in art, but many did not. The exhibit was awesome.

Loy Allen Bowlin's Beautiful Holy Jewel Home

Loy Allen Bowlin from Mississippi called himself the "Original Rhinestone Cowboy" and filled his house and world with glitter and ornaments. His house was reassembled in the gallery and the walls were covered with glitter paintings. The ceilings were also loaded with glitter and suspended from them were hundreds of Christmas ornaments.

Mary Nohl's sculpture garden on the shores of Lake Michigan in a northern suburb of Milwaukee.

Mary Nohl's home sits right on Lake Michigan. We used to go see her sculpture garden as a family. Lots of people misunderstood her and her home and yard became known to many Milwaukee teenagers as the "Witch Lady's House".

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein's photograph of his wife Marie.

Von Bruenchenhein lived in a house in Milwaukee and with his wife Marie, transformed the house into a piece of artwork. Tiny chairs were made out of chicken bones and painted. Clay from a hole in the ground at State Fair Park was used to make ceramic crowns. He painted with oils and his anthropomorphic image of the atomic bomb has stuck with me. He was prolific and my favorite artist at the show.

I might have to take another trip to soak it all in before the show closes. Just wait until you see the artist made restrooms at the Center (Kohler makes bathroom fixtures)... That'll come in the future. Cool.

Today's quote comes from Goethe: Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Look at all this Freaking Snow

Near my house.

We had another good snow here on Friday. It was the wet heavy kind that is good for snowmen and snow ball fights, but not so much for shoveling.

A friend and I took a trip to the Kohler Art Museum in Sheboygan yesterday and the snow was still sticking to the trees, making it a beautiful drive. On a hill, one could see for miles and all of the city scenery was white, including the trees. It was an awesome image. I didn't think it would have been prudent to try to take a photograph at 60 mph.

On County C, south of Port Washington.

On the way home, we drove along Lake Michigan for a short while. There we spied about 18 wild turkeys in a field (easy to see against the white) and what may have been a wolf about 100 yards or so south of them. I don't know for sure that it was a wolf, but it was too large to be a coyote (which I have seen from my window at work many times) and didn't really look like a dog.

This was taken in the Lions Den Nature Preserve in Ozaukee County.

The snow hasn't fallen off the trees much, not even today. Underneath the snow is a little ice, making the branches sparkle in the light. The new snow has made the city feel clean again, covering up all the grey dirty frozen snowbanks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Great Place on a Great Lake

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is where I live.

The building above is the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum that sits directly on the shore of Lake Michigan. The "wings" open when the museum opens daily. I want to make an animation of that someday. The space is awesome in and of itself, without the galleries.

This is our city hall. Looks pretty much the same today. Beautiful germanic and european influences grace the older buildings throughout the city.

This is the Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It resembles a crown of thorns. I really like Wright's spaces of worship.

This is a Calder mobile that is hanging in the Calatrava addition to the Art Museum.

Things Milwaukee has to offer:
  • miles and miles of unimpeded access to Lake Michigan for everyone
  • virtually no traffic
  • lots of green space
  • great friendly people
  • great architecture
  • a symphony orchestra, ballet and lots of theatrical and dance groups
  • bowling lanes and taverns (lots and lots if you live in the right part of town)
  • urban setting in a small metropolitan area
  • major and minor league sports
  • proximity to Madison and Chicago
  • Harley-Davidson (you know when it's spring in Milwaukee)
  • strong arts scene
  • summer festivals

Today's quote comes from Leonard L. Levinson: Chicago - a pompous Milwaukee.
(No offense intended, used to live there, too.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twilight

Maxfield Parrish is an American painter well known for his use of blue hues. The painting above is called Christmas Eve while the one below is called Christmas Morning.


These paintings remind me of the light this morning.

Today's quote is from Longfellow:

Age is opportunity no less

Than youth itself, though in another dress

And as evening twilight fades away

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Day After Christmas

Woke up early this morning, wide awake, which is unlike me.

The light was so beautiful this morning. Sometimes I forget how beautiful dawn can be.


I had an opportunity to see Mars in all of its glory on Christmas Even when the sky was clear. Even with all of the light pollution from the city, the planet was easily visible. Won't be this close to us (55,000,000 miles) for another 9 years and it's in direct opposition to the sun. Pretty cool.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas


Here's to a Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

Finally purchased pin backs that fit the pins I made for Christmas. I'll post a photo after the gifts have been given.

Also want to try to make at least 3 beaded ornaments today but don't know if I'll have the time.

Today's quote comes from Dr Seuss: How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Winter Solstice


At least the days grow longer now that we've had the longest night of the year.

Christmas lights certainly help make everything brighter! And maybe that's one reason that I leave them up longer than I should.

Two of the names for this month's full moon are: cold moon and long moon. I love moonshine - the light from the moon, not the liquor. Doesn't look like we'll see the moon or the sun today.

This young man Gabriel Otte created a software program that puts a live solar system on your desktop. It is so cool. I have the phases of the moon on my desktop. The program is called OSXplanet. My brother told me about it.

Today's quote comes from John Sculley: If we hadn't put a man on the moon, there wouldn't be a silicon valley today.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays from Milwaukee

Hope you enjoy the Holiday Lites (sic) from Miller Brewing.

The show is synchronized to the Transiberian Orchestra playing the Nutcracker Suite and it is spectacular, even if the quality of the camera wasn't. Wish there was accompanying sound, but my camera is too small and old.

You might recognize it from a Miller commercial. It's really fun to go see and Miller offers brewery tours (a rite of passage here in Milwaukee) in conjunction with the light show.

video

I'm nearly done with holiday preparations - went to make the final attachments to the beaded jewelry last night and I had the wrong size. Shoot. Of course it required another visit to a bead store. (I was able to contain myself.)

Today's quote comes from Frank Tyger (sometimes I wonder if these people whose quotes I quote are real): When you like your work every day is like a holiday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Buy Handmade!


Got an email from the Handmade Consortium today. The number of people who have pledged to "Buy Handmade" has grown to over 10,000! Of course, there are many of us who buy handmade items anyway. Check out their website.

In addition, the New York Times magazine featured an article on the growing craft movement in the US. Here's the link. Etsy is featured as are some crafting organizations such as the Austin Craft Mafia and the Church of Craft.

Check it out and happy hand-making (which is what I'm doing with most of my spare time - Christmas is coming and that goose ain't gettin' fat...)

Today's quote: Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there. - E H Gombrich

Friday, December 14, 2007

Phishing?

I got this one today: Dew yew think they might be phishing?

Dear Citibank member,

Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on your account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on your account. So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security. Please click the link bellow:

Watch out bellow!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Challenge Yourself!

Free Rice is a website where you can test your vocabulary skills (50 is the best score you can get).

At any rate, they donate free rice everytime you answer a vocabulary question correctly.

One night I just kept going and going and going...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Need a Laugh?

I was browsing some blogs today and came across this blog about knitting. (Yarn Harlot)

I loved this entry in particular - gave me a good laugh.

It's still snowing, but the flakes are much smaller - looks like we got about 4 or 5 inches so far today...

Snow Day!

We are supposed to get a wicked ice storm (which doesn't happen too often here) today, so I decided to take a snow day. It's nice to sit and watch the snow fall, knowing I don't have to go anywhere. I am still waiting for the freezing rain to fall - could it be that the weather people were wrong again? I am aghast!

I'm also working on beaded gifts today - not liking the way they're turning out. Looks like I'll have to do some adaptation.

I stumbled across the strangest, most awesome thing in the grocery store the other night. Fingered citron, otherwise known as the Hand of Buddha. Guess it's used for fruitcakes and other holiday goodies, but I love the fruit's shape! None of the fruits were alike - every one was completely different in shape and the number of fingers.


I intended to do a photographic study of it when I came across it in the grocery store, so I took some photographs today. Here they are.


I also made a short video clip of the snow falling. Enjoy!

video

Today's quote comes from Joseph Wood Krutch: The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Gotta Check This Out

You should look at the work of this French woman - besides doing beautiful beadwork, she writes her blog in English for us plebians. I wish my French was up to par so I could find adequate words to communicate with her.

She has beaded a pair of fairy slippers... I think I might have to try to make a pair myself.

And I'll use the quote she has on her blog from Lao Tseu: The poet knows how to play on a harp without strings and afterwards he knows how to answer to those who claim they didn't hear the music.


Process behind Mona


When I started working on the Mona, I knew that it was important for me to just do some work, even if I had no particular plan in place. If I didn't do some embroidery, I was going to loose interest in the project and fall even further behind.

So I dumped out my pill bottle that was full of leftovers from other beading projects, pulled out the pearls and decided to give her a headband. I think DaVinci gave one of his other female subjects some sort of headband.

Then I thought she looked like a hippy and the song came into my mind.

Grabbed black beads for her hair and thought to myself - this is a chance to alter the Mona, even more. I picked an unnatural (for hair) color of red beads and stumbled across a string of Czech glass flowers (which I must have bought on a whim years ago) that were a perfect match for the beads.

I tried to make her hair have some movement - like she was in Golden Gate Park during the summer of '67 and the wind had caught her hair. I think I was successful.

Today's quote comes from Theodor Geisel: I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Flower Power


Finally done with page #4 - September, I guess. Took me long enough. I learned to couch my beads on this project - inspired by the Summer of Love and the song by Scott Mackenzie.

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

If you're going to San Francisco

You're gonna meet some gentle people there

Found a cool video of this song on YouTube. Really like the black and white vintage footage. The hand held camera work is neat too. Way pre-video and electronics. Like, far out, man.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Recall!

The US Consumer Safety Commission has recalled Pure Allure items sold at Michael's. Appears that the items were made in China and contain a dangerous amount of lead (is there a safe amount?)

I'm beginning to think that my Grandmother's aversion to buying items made in China wasn't a bad thing. Not bad at all.

I came across this at Beadweaver's blog and decided to pass it along in case anyone's bought or used these items.

Raining today - after 4 inches of snow followed by sleet and rain last night. A good day to cozy up to the Ott Light (don't care what anyone says - there's just not enough natural light here in the winter to work by) and work to finish my September page. Still nearly 3 months behind.

Today's quote comes from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Art vs Craft

Is this a face or the word liar?

Art vs Craft is next weekend in Milwaukee. I've been meaning to go for a long time and am finally making solid plans to go BEFORE the event.

I also got some work done on one of my beaded journal pages last night. Still having a tough time getting the needle to pierce the fabric and the paper without piercing my finger. Ouch!

Today's quotation comes from Agatha Christie: The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to Life, Back to Reality

The turkey's been eaten, the leftovers are gone and my aunt left for home today. Thanksgiving is over.

I finally transcribed a pattern for a Santa face to a peyote graph. That wasn't too hard, but it was time-consuming. The next day I began to bead it. Not so easy, for me, at least, to follow someone else's pattern. Of course it was riddled with mistakes and didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. I should have used Delicas or Tohos, but I didn't, so it ended up skewed.

It was a learning experience. I learned that I don't like to follow someone else's pattern and that it takes practice to follow a chart. Been a long time since I've done counted cross-stitch.


Page from Da Vinci's notebook.


Wonder if DaVinci knew that his notebooks would be viewed so many years after his death. Working on an image of the Mona Lisa for the beaded journal paged.

This time I used cloth with a stitched on paper backing. Not as easy to use as Stiff Stuff and I seem to have problems with the needle piercing the paper backing where I want it to. I'm going to finish this one before the end of the month so I'll only be two months behind.

Today's quote comes from Joan Konner: Procrastination gives you something to look forward to.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buy Handmade

This is something that I espouse all the time - buying something handmade instead of something "off the shelf." I enjoy the diversity that handmade objects bring and I surround myself with them.

This is something to do all year round, not just at the holidays. I believe in supporting your local artist - buying books and cds count, too, in my opinion, since my mother writes and my friend Victoria records. You are still supporting an artist.

Oh, and by the way, buying handmade beads certainly falls into this category.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Animation Anyone?

A friend from work sent me this animation short.

I'm sorry that I don't know whose work it is so that I could give them the credit they deserve. It is a very well done animation short.

I laughed and laughed! Makes me want to do animation again.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Today's quote comes from Nan Porter: If cats could talk, they wouldn't.

video

Post Script - my friend Amy sent me a link to this video on YouTube. I'm not quite sure that the work is this person's, but here's the link at any rate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihh-jSSCB6k

Tah Dah!


Finally finished the corkscrew necklace!

At the end I had little patience for twisting the fringe, so it probably doesn't look as nice as it could have.

Another quote for today comes from FDR: Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Anyone Up for a Challenge?


Caravan Beads in conjunction with Miyuki is sponsoring a contest called Mmmm...Miyuki!

The palette is in the photo above. The rules are at this link.

Not my usual palette, but then that's what makes it a challenge.

A word on challenges comes from Bernice Johnson Regon: Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.

Amazing

My Christmas cactus is blooming! Usually plants under my care fail to thrive or die altogether.

When I bought this plant last spring it had hot pink and orange flowers. Hope the orange flowers come back.

Quote from Sven Goran Erickkson: The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.

Inspiration!


Lately I've found myself very inspired by forms in nature, especially microscopic forms. I have a bunch of ideas which I hope to get a chance to work on soon.


Precursor neural cells grow in a lab dish - photo from University of Wisconsin.

Last night I went to a sale at the Milwaukee Art Museum called Ornaments and Adornments - an indoor art sale. It was a combination of very good art and a few artists that lacked inspiration (in my opinion) and really belonged at a craft sale. Frankly, I expected to see a higher quality of work at a sale at the art museum.

I had been thinking during the day about my germ of a germ idea and low and behold, there was a bead artist (we need a better term - people don't hear the word bead properly) at the show who had bracelets for sale that were along the lines of my germ idea.

I talked to her about my idea and was pleasantly surprised that she was willing to talk to me about her work. I told her that I would love to buy ONE of her beads (she only had bracelets for sale) as I do like to support artists. She told me to go make one of my own. Thank you, Debra De Wolff. She also had some very cool polymer clay work.

On another note, I am nearly done with the corkscrew necklace that I've been toiling over since September! People ask who I'm going to give it to. ME! After all that work, it's definitely for me. If someone I really like likes it, I'll think about making one for them, but I have so many irons in the fire project-wise that I may not get to it for years.

I want to finish that piece and do at least one beaded journal page this next week.

Today's quote comes from Buddha: Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Don't Harp on Me!


A very old friend, Victoria Drake, has come out with a new cd. She's a harpist - a very good one. I was always a little jealous of her musical abilities - she was able to play any instrument that she picked up and very well, at that.

I really like listening to her music in the background - it's very soothing and calming. I should put it on my iPod for work. Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, they say.

The short movie on her website is very well done and explains how she's taken pieces written for the cello by Bach and transcripted them for the harp. I used to play them on the cello and they're some of my favorite pieces for the cello.

That's another form of creativity - being able to transcribe music for one instrument to another - not as easy as it sounds.

Today's quote: How monotonous the sounds of the forest would be if the music came only from the top ten birds. - Dan Bennett

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Practice

Here's a blogger who creates a collage a day and offers them for sale. A Collage A Day is the name of Randel Plowman's blog. It is interesting to see the progression and how the materials he chooses change with time. I admire his dedication.

Trees in twilight, January 2007. Love the silhouettes.

At the beginning of this year I thought I would try to take ONE photograph a day for a month. I was not taking many to get ONE that I liked - no, I was taking ONE. January may not be the best time of year to attempt this endeavor. There's little time outside of work with enough light to get a good photograph. I blame this on my camera, but I shouldn't. Many artists use cheap cameras on purpose to achieve specific results.

The photograph below is one of the photos from that series. The project lasted 13 days.

Full moon rising over Lake Michigan, January 2007.

While collage can be a very quick method, it still takes dedication and discipline. Large beading projects can sometimes take months which can be frustrating at times. But as with any medium, it is the process as well as the finished project that gives me satisfaction.

Sometimes though, I just need to do a piece to get some immediate gratification. Those pieces are no less artistic than the ones that take time.

Quote of the day: If you employed study, thinking and planning time daily, you could develop and use the power that can change the course of your destiny. - W. Clement Stone, businessman and philanthropist.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Discipline

I want to accomplish more - that is, I want to finish more projects and be more productive, beading/artistic-wise. I also want to continue to learn and grow in my creative endeavors. I have left too many incomplete projects and pieces in my wake.

This is one of the pieces I turned in for the Vintage Jewelry redone project.

I don't always feel like beading or doing something creative everyday. But I shouldn't let my laziness impede my artistic growth.

Everything takes practice. When I was young, I managed to practice my musical instrument at least 30 minutes a day, sometimes more, and sometimes less, but in order to improve, I knew I had to practice. I'm not saying that I always enjoyed it and sometimes I did whatever I could to avoid it, but I did improve with time (became a pretty darned good musician, if I may say so myself.)

That time for practice must be built into my schedule. I really don't have an excuse. Now to figure out a way to do just that. Build the time into my schedule.

Today's quote comes from Pubilius Syrus: Practice is the best of all the instructors.

Another good quotation for today comes from Henry Ward Beecher: To become an able and successful man in any profession, three things are necessary, nature, study and practice.

One last quotation: Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success. - Brian Adams

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Right Brained or Left Brained?

This is the brain of a creative person.


Follow this link to an interesting article about brains.

If you perceive the dancer spinning one way, the article claims you're right brained and vice versa.

After looking at it for a minute, I was able to change the direction that the dancer was spinning. I surprised myself. Didn't think I'd be able to do it.

It's very interesting, but skip it if you have inner ear issues or a headache.

Today's quotation comes from Pliny the Elder: The brain is the citadel of sense perception.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Oh Crap! It's November Already!

How did November creep up on me? Now I am officially two months behind in the Beaded Journal Project, working on three. I know that if I don't get going on this project pretty soon that I'll either loose interest or will fall so very far behind that I'll be working on the September page in May.

And it's past time to think about making Christmas and birthday gifts. Now's the time to decide if I work on the project for gifts that I chose last year and was unable to do due to my father's illness, or if I buy gifts. I'll have to make that decision this week - the Winter Madison Art Fair is next weekend - I was able to buy a few gifts there last year.

I usually try to make personal gifts for my family. One year I researched the history of the victorian house we grew up in and that my parents still live in and wrote and illustrated (with old articles and advertisments) a book about the house and the people who lived there. Another year I published the family genealogy after working on the research for years - the research isn't done, but I've moved on to other things. Another year I made everyone a portrait of my grandmother. I don't know how much these gifts are appreciated, but I enjoy making them.

Have beading class today - the title is Bling Bling and it uses 4mm crystals and 15s. Don't know what the project will look like, but I enjoy the company of the other beaders. Still have to find crystals and 15s - not hard, but not easy since I don't know what the project is so I don't know which colors to choose.

Today's quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bead Glue Can Be Dangerous!

Last night while working on the submissions for the vintage jewelry submission, I glued my thumb and my middle finger on my right hand together. As I was working with the piece, I said to myself - "You'd better be careful. You might glue your fingers together." Sure 'nuf I did.

An hour later, after applying nail polish remover and having my sister use a piece of dental floss to saw between the digits, they finally came apart.

At holiday time last year I was making a bunch of snowflakes when I glued a bead to my right index finger. It was stuck pretty good for at least a couple of hours. How foreign that felt.

Today's quote's author is unknown: Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass: it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mother Nature's Color Show

Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day! (to quote Rogers and Hammerstein)

I sat under this tree for a while this weekend, just enjoying the colors that only fall can bring. I particularly enjoy the contrast between the oranges and yellows and the blue fall sky.

Been working hard on submissions for the vintage jewelry reworked book. Have a few done so far, but the one that I like the most is giving me some headaches.

I'm on my 4th or 5th time around making the pendant for this necklace. Each time it gets a little better. Maybe the next time it will be perfect!

To quote Henry Ford: Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.

Today's quotation comes from Agnes DeMille, dancer: Who am I? the artist asks and spends his whole life finding it. (Agnes DeMille was Cecil B. DeMille's neice. He was one of the first famous movie directors. New piece of trivia for me.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blogtoonist David Walker

How About Orange had one of Dave Walker's cartoons on her blog. Every now and then you come across a cartoonist who really seems to strike chords in people.

Here is one that really hits home for me. I really really hate to do laundry and will avoid it at all costs as my sister often reminds me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Czech Glass & Beads



My sister just completed a trip to Prague, Budapest and Bratislava (forgive me if I misspell...)

She's a beader, too and didn't come home with any beads (too many to choose from, she said.)

She took the first picture because they cannot claim to have the "best" Czech art glass - guess it's against the law, so this is probably the best Czech art glass.

Maybe we should have that law here - the crappy pizza joint (and I use that adjective liberally) down the street claims to have the World's Best Garlic Bread (but I don't have the nerve to eat there...)

Another quote: this one from Frederic Amiel: The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life and you must accept regret.

Vintage Jewelry

Last night I was working on remaking vintage jewelry into new jewelry with a twist.

I'm really glad that I took the time to see if any of the pieces I was about to mangle and rip apart were signed - one rhinestone necklace that I bought at a rummage sale for probably a quarter (and used to wear) in the early 80s was signed and is worth a lot more together than apart!

Some of the jewelry that I was working with was old and brittle, so I won't be able to remake it the way I wanted to originally, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Today's quote comes from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another Beautiful Fall Day

Today was another awesome fall day in Wisconsin! Almost too warm. Waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the weather to turn colder.

The silver bracelet is Saki silver. It makes a wonderful sound when I wear it. I needed some instant gratification, so I made it in a snap. I love Saki silver.

The other image is the corkscrew lariat that I've been working on for over a month. It is a slow process, but one I enjoy doing.

I have some other jewelry to work on for submission for a book gallery, so the corkscrew will have to take a back seat until that's done. Of course I've known about the submission due date for a long time, but I'm a lifetime procrastinator. Don't see that changing in the near future.

This is a true story. I once bought a book on conquering procrastination, but it sat next to my bed until I decided that I'd never read it and gave it to Goodwill.

I have a few quotations for today: the first comes from William James: Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfinished task.

The second comes from unknown:
The best way to get something done is to begin.


The third comes from Don Marquis: Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Beading: Art or Craft? You Decide

Went looking around at some of my favorite bead blogs today as a break after work. Stopped at the Lone Beader and found this post which sparked a chord in me.

"Beadwork is a craft that should also be seen as fine art. Beads are a medium which can be handcrafted out of many different materials such as glass, wood, metal, paper, clay, or felt. With the help of fiber, wire, clay, or other materials, beads can be sculpted into extreme dimensional forms using both traditional and contemporary techniques. But still, we continue to see beadwork only in jewelry and cultural exhibits. It is time that international fine art museums start thinking outside the box, and display more beaded forms and sculptures in contemporary and modern art exhibits, as well. " - the Lone Beader

My reply to her post: Well said, well said! I think many bead artists come from crafting backgrounds and they don't consider what they do to be art. Isn't craftsmanship part of the execution of a piece of art?

I have this discussion with lots of people (craft vs art). It's all in the approach, I think. If you think it's art, it is. If you think it's crafting, it is.

I ran into one of my old art professors recently and she asked what I was up to and I told her that I was beading. She said that an artist had brought in this beautiful beaded piece to a reunion of art students. I don't think that many art schools/teachers can see past the craft to the art of beads.

Whew! I might just have to quote you on this subject...

Quotation for the day comes from Barbara Sher: You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How Come?

Why do I feel the need to knit or felt something every fall?

Don't I have my hands full enough with beading and life in general? Why does yarn and fiber entice me so?

Now I want to make some felt beads. It'd be easier to buy them, but I want to make them! If I felt beads, at least I'm staying within the beading realm.

Today's quote is from Berenice Abbott, American photographer: Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.

(Same can be said for any art medium.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Donuts the Calorie Free Kind!

Last week was the week from hell for me - too many very emotional situations to deal with. Very difficult to do much work of any sort, but I did manage to do some work on the corkscrew lariat I've been working on.

I also went to NanC Meinhardt's Studio in Highland Park yesterday to take a class with Liz Smith with my friend Carla. We made a Calorie Free Donut (or at least started to work on one.) (Photo courtesy of Liz Smith and NanC Meinhardt.)

I sometimes find it difficult to work in free form, so this will be a bit of a challenge for me. I'm working in greens and purples on this project - had to find beads in a hurry, so I chose colors from my most crowded bead drawers.

Part of it's done in right angle weave, so I was glad that I had to practice that stitch some more. It was easier this time around.

I enjoyed learning from Liz. She's a good teacher (former school teachers usually are.) Her written directions are top notch, too. She taught me a couple of new tricks that I'll be using! Thanks, Liz!

I really needed to do something creative and to get out of the house and get my mind off of life for a while, so this was a great escape for me.

Thanks to those people who voted for their favorite stitches. I just wanted to try something new on my blog.

Maybe sometime I will get to my September Beaded Journal Page. Guess I'd better make an effort to do that soon.

Today's quote comes from George Barnard Shaw: We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Post Secrets

Frank Warren has been encouraging people to send him artistic postcards with people's deepest secrets for years. I have a couple of ideas, but never got around to it. Now I can't find the address.

He'll be in town in two weeks to promote his new Postsecret book, so I think I'll try to go to hear what he has to say.

This began as an artmail/artomatic project. Cool.

Today's quotation comes from English Playwright Shelagh Delaney - There aren't enough secrets to go round anymore. Some spies are having to invent secrets in order to earn a living.

A Beautiful Fall Day

I'm nearly done knitting a chemo cap for my friend and want to mail it tomorrow or the day after. I hope it gives her some comfort. I am going to finish that chemo cap today.

The yarn is really soft and is verigated with bright tropical hued tones. I enjoyed making it, although I'm really having trouble with the last little bit... I'll just wing it and it should work out okay. Another learning situation - but not quite sure what I learned yet besides the fact that I like working with double-ended needles instead of two circular needles. (That was a tangled mess!)

My tubular corkscrew peyote piece continues to grow. It needs to be quite long since the ends with twine together in front to make the closure. I suppose it is a lariat of some sort and the first one of those I've made. It only grows 1/2 a bead length in a round which is why it's taking me so long. I love it, though and though most people make jewelry to match their wardrobes, I buy shirts to match the jewelry I've made.

A good friend's husband passed away Sunday night. He was only 58. I consider him a friend as well and I will miss him so much. This is the first person that I consider to be a friend that I've lost. I feel for their son who is only 12.

So, I think tonight I will bead to keep my hands busy.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Photos from Forest Home Cemetery






Last Thursday a friend and I took a short tour of Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, IL (a Chicago suburb). One of the things I like to do is to take photos of the statuary in cemeteries.

I used to be uncomfortable around cemeteries, but cemeteries are so peaceful that they have made me fear death less. The statuary is so beautiful and sometimes so plain - we found a tombstone that looked like a quilt in Forest Home. It's very interesting to see how people are remembered.

During college, I met a friend at a cemetery. It was fall, and very foggy. We walked around, taking photos and we noticed a sort of chapel up on a hill. We were very startled when a group of nuns emerged from that chapel. We had no idea that it was still in use.

I originally began to frequent cemeteries during my genealogical quest for ancestry. Then, on a trip to New Orleans, my friends and I toured the Metarie Cemetery. It was gorgeous. That was the beginning of my recent exploration of cemeteries.

Green Pepper Press Challenge Squeeze



Seems like I'm always squeezing things in at the last possible minute. I like to challenge myself, so I want to try to do all of the monthly challenges that Michelle Ward throws out there. This month's challenge was to admit to crushes (obsessions) that we have.

Since I do like lists, I'll list some of my current obsessions here:
  • beads
  • off-loom bead weaving
  • labradorite
  • paper (all kinds)
  • collage and assemblage
  • pens
  • journaling
  • books
  • creativity
  • cemeteries
  • Elvis
  • the eccentric and the odd
  • outsider art
  • Art
  • lists
  • road trips
  • the Northwest
  • vintage road maps
  • learning
Today's quotation comes from the sculptor Henry Moore: The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monarchs are on the Move!


Monarch butterflies are on the move! They're gathering in trees very close to work, getting ready to migrate to Mexico. Take a look at Monarch Watch if this intrigues you. Photo by and (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)

In the 60s, I remember the neighbor's tree being full of monarchs one fall. It was beautiful. My Dad planted milkweed to encourage them to return, which didn't make the neighbors too happy - the sixties was known for it's manicured lawns.

Went to the Chicago Bead Society's Book and Bead Sale on Sunday. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of vendors and the quality of the vendors at the sale.

Naturally, I spent more than I probably should have, but I got some very nice beads to play with. Saki Silver was there and their items are so tempting that I just had to buy a few.

I did support a couple of bead artists by buying their lampwork beads. I really believe that we should support artists, writers and all people who create for their living. They enrich our lives. (And maybe someone will buy some of my work someday, too.)

I went with a few beader friends of mine and the company was good. I'm always curious to see what other beaders buy for their stashes. I must admit that I admired my friends' willpower. They didn't buy as much as I did. Beginning tomorrow (there are a couple of purchases I need to make for projects) I will be on another bead diet. If I put my mind to it, I can resist the temptation to buy beads.

I'm on vacation next week - spending it in Chicagoland animal sitting for my sister. That will be a treat in and of itself. I plan to make some immediate gratification pieces - a necklace or two and at least a bracelet and I plan to work on some longer projects. Still have to get on that September page.

Today's quotation from Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864): "Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is just out of grasp, but if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Craft Cast

My friend Helen told me about this website called CraftCast. Allison Lee has created a podcast that interviews artists. I have listened to a little bit, but the list of artists that she has interviewed already is quite impressive.

The artists come from all sorts of media - knitting, cake decorating, collage, and beading, to name just a few.

I noticed that there is an interview scheduled with Margie Deeb (may be interesting to hear how she explains working with color with no visuals...). Kate McKinnon, Sherry Haab, Celie Fago and Jackie Guerra have already been interviewed, amongst others.

Thought people might want to check out this site for creative minds! Thanks for the tip, Helen, you lurker, you!

Another quote for today: Results! Why man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that don’t work. - Thomas Edison

Trunk Shows are Dangerous!

Rings and Things came to town today with their bi-annual trunk show featuring so many of their beautiful stone beads.

I was able to get some really great deals - 50% + off most of the items. I got some carnelian for a healing necklace for my friend who is recovering from breast cancer along with some small African turquoise. Picturing some sort of spiral with the turquoise and copper beads... hmmmm.

There were some really cool stones that I couldn't pass up. Got some Norweigan Moonstone to make a necklace for my half-Norwegian mother. If it has a sheen or a flash to it, I love it! Got some hypersthene, too. The stones shown here are examples of hypersthene, which, I find is related to labradorite. Go figure. Those stripes shine, sort of like tiger eye, but the change is much more distinct.

Anyway. I spent more than I should, but then I always do that. Mom says that I have a jones for beads. I didn't know she knew what that word meant!

If their trunk show comes to your town, get an invite! I think they'll send you an invite if you live near where their trunk shows are held and you've purchased something from them in the past. The prices were better than those I found at Bead and Button.

The Bead Society of Greater Chicago is holding their annual Bead Sale this Sunday. Haven't ever been before, so this should be interesting and probably costly. Usually is. I'll be on another bead diet after that.

On the creative side, I finally got that pattern I was having problems with to work after about 7 false starts. It took a while to crack because the pattern called for me to skip several beads and that felt unnatural to me. I still think that the instructions could have been written a bit more clearly.

Today's quote involves shopping (which I don't really do too often besides for beads (and for that my budget is happy)): Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase. - Erma Bombeck