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

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

B E A D E r

This program was created by Eric Kastner. I think it's cool. You can change the letter's appearance just by clicking on it.

Got pretty frustrated this evening because I was trying to follow a pattern from a magazine. I know that it's difficult to write explicit directions that everyone will understand, but more diagrams would help! I do learn well from books, but for some reason I have a hard time deciphering directions without good diagrams to back them up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

But What If???

This morning I was looking for the healing properties of stones so I could make something for a friend who's fighting breast cancer. I think I found what I was looking for - turquoise (her birthstone) and/or carnelian.

Then I looked at the definition for labradorite, my favorite stone which I buy an awful lot of: Labradorite - strengthens the will and inner strength and convictions. Aids in combatting addictions. Okay, but what if you're addicted to labradorite?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

August's Page is Done!

Done with August's page which is my tribute to Elvis. I love Elvis, especially kitschy Elvis art that people do. This one went through several incarnations before I finally decided to make a focal picture pebble. I love the imbedded glitter in the fun felt. I was a crow in a previous life - I like shiny sparkly things.

I tried fun felt for the first time and found that it works very well, especially considering the price. Don't know that I'd use it for a wearable piece, but I think it works well for this application. When this piece is held up to the light, you can see all of the needle holes - made a LOT of alterations on the letters. The lettering was hard and the letters still aren't as I'd like them to be, but they'll do. Tried backstitch first, but that didn't work so well, so I used an 8 as the base and put an 11 on the top. New month, new technique.

I wanted to take a better picture of July's page so here it is. I would like a new digital camera and of course I don't want a cheap one, I want one with real interchangeable lenses, ttl focusing so that the camera works like a true film camera, not a point and shoot like I have now. Haven't been able to take very good close ups with it lately and I think the problem is me, not the camera, in part.

The last photo is of the right angle weave cube (two rows deep) of Swarovski 4mm bicones that my friend ordered. Wanted to get a photo of it before I mailed it.

I pulled a page from a textbook that I'm going to use for my background for the September page. While the first piece I did was not really journal-like for me, I think that the other two images are examples of work that would be found in my journal.

The Beaded Journal Project has been very good for me. It's challenged me to learn a new beading technique, for one thing, and to work on a long term project with short-term goals which works well for me. And I am blogging, which I've wanted to do for a long time. It was difficult to find a voice and I think I'm coming into my own. I'm learning new things about blogging as I go along. I bought a book about HTML, which I learned way back in the 90s. I'd like to do some web design to the blog so it has my imprint on it, not my imprint on someone else's design.

Today's quotation comes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: I believe that true identity is found... in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own.