Friday, August 31, 2007


I found the Green Pepper Press blog today and I participated in their challenge - to add music to your blog!

I hope you enjoy this - I do like this band and they are fun to watch in person.

Great Big Sea - End Of The World

I like these guys - they are a fun band to see in person.

Perfect Late Summer/Early Fall Day

It's just so beautiful outside today. I hope to get outside after the sun leaves the porch (too hot) and take some pictures of my recent work and work in progress today and - of course - do some beading.

I made the paperweight at a bead retreat held by my bead society last spring. Playing with molten glass was awesome. There is a great bead store in Racine, WI called Funky Hannah's that has a Hot Glass Shop associated with it. This paperweight reminds me of a field of springtime flowers in a sea of new green grass. Of course I nearly burned myself on the rod.

The red basket is from a class taught in 2006 at Bead & Button by Marilyn Moore called Twined Little Jewel. It took me a while to finish it, and it is rough, but I really liked making it. I need to practice and make more. Marilyn Moore taught us how to make the supports, which are copper pieces that are heated in a flame until the metal balls up. Mary Hettsmansperger taught me the skill again last spring, but I need to practice more.

I got a start on my August page which has gone through a few different permutations since it formed in my head last spring. Made some marble pebbles last night which will do for the focal point, but have a few more drying. Want to have a nice choice available before I glue anything down to my substrate.

This time I'm trying the Fun Felt for 79 cents per sheet instead of $5 for stiff stuff and it's dyed. I hope it works!

Have my September page in my head, too, and might try to get a start on that this weekend since it will take steps to get the project to the beading portion.

I also want to do some resin work this weekend, so I think I'll have to drink some beer in order to get bottle caps to work with ;? I've been thinking about working with resin, just need to gather whatever I want to resin and this time I want to plan it out a bit. Resin is an awful lot of fun.

Fall always seems like a time of renewal to me. I feel like it's my New Year instead of January. My sister told me that she read somewhere that there are many people who buy office supplies at this time of year - like buying all those notebooks, folders, pencils and crayons all those years ago. I'm reminded of "You've Got Mail" when they talk about a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. I love this time of year!

Today's Quotation comes from Elvis Presley and it's one of my favorites, although I don't always follow it: Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes.

And here's another that I really like by Dr Seuss: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where Do We Get Our Ideas?

I was just surfing some beader's blogs and I began to wonder - where do we get our ideas?

Often, for me, an idea will emerge and sit in my head and in my journal pages for years. I may not know what I'm going to do with it, but it fermets and grows until I have a better idea of how to approach it. Sometimes the approach doesn't work, and often the idea doesn't turn out as I had hoped it would. It's difficult to get from the planning stage to the execution stage without some blips along the way.

I have my idea for August's page and a small idea about September's page, but I'm not sure how to get to the finished product.

Should be able to work on August's page this weekend - and will probably be able to finish it if I try.

Quotation for today: When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I've finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it's wrong. - Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Architecture as Art

This is a photo from the inside of the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum - it was designed by Santiago Calatrava and has wings that open (wind permitting) when the museum opens. That's what is visible through the glass. It's a great space and when I'm in it, I understand how architects impact our lives by designing a building that is pure art and joy.

The second photo is of an Alexander Calder mobile that is suspended in the pavilion at the art center.

The other photos show the building ready to take flight and the wings.

One knotting project using silk strands didn't work out as well as I had planned, so I'll have to try to take it apart and redo it later.

I began working on a spiral using peridot for my mother's birthday and didn't have time to finish it on time for her birthday. I'll have to work on it this week - shouldn't take too long to get it all done. Of course it required yet another trip to the bead store. I'm banning myself for the time being, at least, although my aunt asked for another glasses necklace for which I may not have the right beads - isn't that the way it always goes?

The Rings and Things Trunk Show is coming to town on the 12th of September. I may have to go take a look. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ideas Spinning in my Head

Last night our local bead society held it's monthly meeting. The meeting had 5 stations with 5 different techniques, each demonstration lasting about 15 minutes. The techniques demoed last night were: knotting, weaving on the Weavette loom, making a polymer clay lentil bead, crocheting with wire, and bead crochet.

It was all very inspiring and interesting, although I already know how to crochet bead ropes and crochet with wire. I didn't think that I'd really learn anything new in 15 minutes. I've made a concious decision to not delve into polymer right now - I did dabble a bit with that when it first became available, and I may have some in the basement somewhere, but I don't need another distraction. I'm spread too thin artistically as it is.

The Weavette demo was interesting and she had some great looking pieces, but that would require another possible expensive addiction (which I already have a mild case of) to yarn and fibers, and I'd have to buy the looms.

The first one I saw, though, was the one that resonated with me - knotting. I have wanted to work more with knotting lately. Maybe it's a throw back to the 70s and macrame - don't know. Brenda Schweder was the indie designer/demoer and she had some great ideas. My head started to spin with ideas and then I came home and went on the internet and looked for supplies... I tried to go to sleep early, but my mind was full of these ideas and then another idea would pop into my head and stick there... Maybe you don't always have to be working to be inspired.

The photo above is of a full moon rising over Lake Michigan last January. It was part of a daily challenge to myself to take ONE good photograph a day. That was harder than it sounds, because I had to take one, whether I felt like it or not, and only one to represent that day. I didn't make it through the month, but it's something that I might try again.

I should have had my camera in my bag today - it's been raining a lot and today it was really misty and foggy - the distant landscape looked so grey and forlorn.

Today's Quote: Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. - Anonymous

Came across this quiz and was wondering what a pepperoni pizza would tell about me. I particularly like the part about being unique and artistically inclined, but Prague?

What Your Pizza Reveals

Your appetite is pretty average. You don't go overboard - but you don't deprive yourself either.

You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are definitely unique and artistically inclined. You should consider traveling to Prague.

The stereotype that best fits you is geek. You're the type most likely to order pizza to avoid leaving your computer.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Little Work Humor

This email was sent to all employees last week. Unfortunately, even spell check wouldn't have helped this error...

> Problems Accessing Internet Websites on the Network have been resolved
> To All,
> The websites using the internet are now available.
> Sorry for any incontinence this may have caused.

This email may well have caused incontinence due to the amount of laughter it provided...

Finally Finished the July Page!

Learned a lot with this page. Used backstitch exclusively and it was harder than I thought it'd be. I have a few spots were the thread shows and others where I tried to cram an extra bead in to cover up the threads... I still have to finish off the edges (but I also have to do that with the June page.) If the sun ever comes out again, I'll take a better picture with better focus.

I did enjoy the meditative-like state that came with the stitching. July's page was an impression of a sunset I saw from the car after a long drive home on the 25th of July. Couldn't find the perfect beads for the sun (didn't search too hard - one bead store was my limit). The sun was a pinkish, reddish, orangey orb sitting in a lavender sky.

I've been working on the jewelry that was consigned - finished today. I made her a spiral just like the one that the mask bead is on and the other piece (pictured above - I'll try to take a better photo soon...) is a right angle weave (not yet my favorite stitch, still getting into my comfort zone) square piece using crystal bicones. As soon as I think I'm over crystals, I find another application to try.

Bought some really cool beads for my mother's birthday gift - size twos that are designed (or so I'm told) to look like dichroic glass. They have enamel lining clear glass. The color shifts as the light moves. I also have a bunch of funky lampworked drop beads that are not even at all and I'm not quite sure how they'll hang, but are blue and green. Thinking I'm going to do something on gray silk strands with some sort of knotting.

Have the idea for August - now just need to get a couple of supplies and find some time to work on it. The nexus of the idea has been with me for a really long time, but I needed to come up with a creative solution - the original plan wasn't going to work so well and would probably be very difficult to do as well as I'd like to. So. On to plan B.

The picture of the barn is in western Wisconsin - not far from the Mississippi and very close to The Big Woods (for those of you familiar with the Little House books) and not far from Lake Pepin. Southwestern Wisconsin, especially the portion along the Mississippi, is beautiful and is the only unglaciated portion of the state, or so I'm told by my sister the geologist.

Creative Quote for the day: Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working. - Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

This quote was so good that I had to do two for today: I don't believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it. - Federico Fellini (1920 - 1993)

(From the quotations I read tonight, I guess most people seem to agree that inspiration alone is not enough. Darn. But then I knew that. Magic doesn't happen and you have a piece you adore - it takes practice and work. And time to do it.)

I need to learn more about posting and html. I don't like the way that the wording wraps (or doesn't) around the photographs.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Been Too Long

It's been way too long since I blogged. Been busy.

Sometimes I find it difficult to be creative while I'm so busy at work. I enjoy being creative, don't get me wrong, it's what makes me me, but work has been very draining lately.

I am happy to say that I'm nearly done with the July page - might be able to finish it tomorrow night after work. I tried to use beads that I had on hand, but they were too small (15s) for the needle. I'm learning a lot about embroidery and patience. This page is an impression of a moment in time - a particular sunset on the 25th of July. Once this is complete then I can begin with August's.

Mom's birthday is coming up soon and I want to make her something special. Blue and green are her colors. I have some funky lampwork drops that are cool blue/green. Maybe I can weave them into a necklace just for her. Wish me luck!

Beading class begins again on Wednesday. This go round we're making a netted basket. Should be fun!