Monday, December 31, 2007


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


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.

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


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!

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


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.