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.

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.

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.


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.


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


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


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.