Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Hogmanay and Happy New Year!

I am loving the blue moon tonight - lit the path to my door for me. Love the shadows of the trees that are cast in the snow. Beautiful. Cold night tonight - the air is crisp and the moon's light is bright.

Laura McCabe's Geo Floral Beaded Bead

I've come to the conclusion that I have far too many UFOs (unfinished objects) in my queue and intend to make headway in completing them. The first one I will complete is Laura McCabe's beautiful floral cube pictured above. I have one side done. Now for the other five and then to put it together. I love Laura McCabe's designs - she combines geometry and stitches to create beautiful objects.

Once I take stock of what I have in progress, I'll list them here - which is like proclaiming my intentions to the world! Yikes!

Tonight's quote is one of my favorites from Ralph Waldo Emerson: Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

And one more from W. Clement Stone: Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


Man walking dog down ravine path in Lake Park.

I like the time between Christmas and New Year's the best. All the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over and it's time to play with your new toys. (I hope everyone got a new toy of some sort or another!)

I made two gifts for Christmas this year and they were well received - a felted wool scarf (which turned out very well but took forever to dry) and a beaded Brewer's logo for my sister the baseball fan.

I'm happy that I made at least two gifts this year. I did buy a handmade gift for my brother - a lamp by Kirkiture, an artist from Pittsburgh who makes amazing lamps. Shop seems to be empty now, but check back. Very nicely done.

Wintry tree on lakefront.

So now is the time of year that I spend reflecting on the past year and looking forward to next year. I have some things I'd like to accomplish next year fermenting in my mind. Time to pull out a journal and begin anew.

Today's quote comes from Ellen Goodman: We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.

and another from John Burroughs: One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This is Magnificient!

Viggo's Eye - in progress by Jo Hamilton. Go take a look - you'll be amazed! Never thought of doing free form crochet! (I have trouble following a pattern - maybe this would be an approach to try - although doing work this detailed would be a ways off if ever...)

Saw this on another cool blog Dude Craft. He posts all sorts of cool things that people are doing.

Quote today comes from James McNeill Whistler: An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays Part 2

Frost Thursday, December 10, 2009.

Only less than two weeks left in the making season for gifts... Will I finish on time? Probably not. Will I have problems with a project and have to scramble for plan b (which I don't have)? Probably. Aaackkk!

Went to the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago last weekend. Lots of interesting things to be seen in between the bodies wedged next to the tables and in the aisles. Not a place for the faint of heart or for the agoraphobic. Didn't take long until my sisters were ready to leave. Now.

I did manage to spend some money - some funny cards, a skein of hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn, amongst others.

Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago December 09

Or, as we took to calling it, the Rebellious Craft Fair. I have my theories about these craft/art fairs, but they need to simmer a bit before I voice them.

View from the Amtrak Hiawatha from Milwaukee, arriving at Union Station in Chicago. Cool reflections of clouds and buildings on the Chicago River as viewed from the train.

And, oh yeah, got the Bead and Button Catalog today. Haven't had a chance to sit down to look at it yet. May save it until some chores are done.

Today's quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: But it is a cold, lifeless business when you go to the shops to buy something, which does not represent your life and talent, but a goldsmith's.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beaded Beads and Art Fairs

My latest project - cornerless cubes designed by Valerie Hector. The cornerless cubes are the red (waiting for the last beads (the hardest to do) to be added), orange and the green one in the upper left. The rest are simple right angle weave 12 beads/bead.

Went to the Madison Contemporary Museum Art Fair this past weekend... and Jo Ann Baumann of the beading world complimented my necklace (that I had made)!!!!! That made my day. Got lots of compliments on it that day.

There was a lot of interesting quality work at the fair. Don't normally go to them because often the fairs are filled with things I can make myself (but don't). But there were a couple of artists that compelled me and I bought a few pieces.

I enjoy supporting artists and come from an artistic family. I was taught by my father and mother to buy art I enjoy and that when you do that, you are supporting an artist.

One thing I never buy or even look at is photography - and with the advent of Photoshop and digital cameras everyone can be a photographer, but not everyone has the photographic eye. I like my photographs and the way I see light. The limitations of my digital camera can be frustrating, but I haven't used my 35mm in years (it's so heavy!) Digital cameras have changed the way everyday life is captured.

I do enjoy taking movie shorts with my digital camera. Now I have to learn how to put them all together to make a movie short. (I know how to do it with real film, now to learn the digital...)

Sunset as I was leaving work last week.

I enjoy watching the colors of the sky change and having the trees silhouetted in the foreground... but I do not like the absence of light in the evening. Just another cycle I have to get used to.

Have a few new projects in the works and gifts to make, so hopefully I'll have something new to post next week.

Today's quote comes from Maria Robinson: Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. (Or, today is the first day of the rest of your life.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pickle Day!

Have a pickle today - it's a Food Holiday according to the food service calendar I have!

Thomas Jefferson had this to say about pickles: On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar.

(Who knew there were quotes about pickles?)


Am trying so hard to work on a knitted scarf. Shouldn't be as hard as it has been for me - it's a simple pattern, but I keep screwing it up. I have started it over many times. Each time I make a mistake, but I start over.

Why isn't there an undo button for knitting? I've gotten so spoiled.

I won't give up, though. It's a really cool scarf. I'll try again later on tonight. I can do it, yes I can!

Today's quote comes from Amelia Earhart: The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life: and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Karla Kam - Right Angle Weave Beads

Finally figured out that the new resource for how-to's is YouTube. No longer will I have to search my dusty bookshelves for the directions on a specific project. (btw - LBS people, this is what we'll be doing soon but with needles.)

Today's quote comes from Alan Cohen: It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and the seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicago, Chicago...

The windows above are cool - Tiffany's. I love the way the artist broke the plane with the leaves that protrude from the window. I think the windows were just as gorgeous if not more than the gems they showcased.

Went to Chicago to catch up with some old friends and to go to a concert one of them was in. Forgot how much I like to look at Chicago architecture. Saw a lot of interesting buildings that I'd like to take photos of and details that I'd like to photograph.

Hancock Tower and the Water Tower that survived the great fire on the left.

The last fall show.

Today's quote comes from Stanley Horowitz: Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!! My cousin's favorite holiday - even more so than Christmas. I like Day of the Dead myself. Have a great Dead Elvis in a cabinet.

My sister did the cruelest thing to me today. She recently took up quilting and insisted that I accompany her to a quilting store. I was in agony. All this pretty fabric and so many things waiting to be made! I cannot take up another hobby. Not allowed. No siree Bob.

Lake Michigan after a fall storm.

Lake Michigan steely grey fall sunrise.

Today's quote comes from the Scots: From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall 2009

This is one of those things that comes with fall, I'm told. It's an Osage Orange which is a tree seed that I've never seen before. I think it's lovely.

I love the color and the bumps. Looks like fibers all knotted together in one giant ball. Also kinda looks like a green brain.

Found these seed pods outside the Alterra Coffee shop. Hard to get it in focus when the wind's blowing!

And the tree right outside my house. Resplendent in its true colors against the October sky.

Today's quote comes from the existentialist Albert Camus: Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kinetic Bird Art

Think I should get downtown and make my own movie (minus the interviews) and let the birds speak for themselves. Don't like invasive species, but appreciate the beauty of this one. European Starlings.

Today's Quote comes from Izaak Walton: Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall is Here

Fall is here - actually feels like it began with the ending since it's been so cold. I think we're due an Indian Summer. The trees don't seem to know what to do - one in the backyard just decided to drop nearly ALL of it's leaves over night!

I think this is an ash tree and it has always been one of my favorites in the fall since it appears to glow from within. I finally got a couple of pictures at just the right time. Emerald Ash Borers have been found near my city and the thought of loosing all of these beautiful trees makes me sick.

Been working on housey-stuff and I have come to the conclusion that I hate paper! Well, okay, I love paper, but I hate recycling it and getting it in the first place. I also handle so much at work. Have you ever pulled out a file of paper that's just a couple of years old and noticed that it smells?

I wish I could be more paper-free and I'm trying. I don't get paper bills anymore and the internet has made writing checks nearly obsolete. One step in the paper-free direction. Now if we could just get magazines to allow subscribers to access their magazines online - no more stacks of magazines - awesome!

On a lighter and brighter note: I sat down and conquered St Petersburg chain yesterday. Made two short samples and am now ready to begin work on a gift. Felt really good to sit down and bead and challenge myself. Now to figure out how to put my own stamp on it.

Today's quote comes from PD James: It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Land of No TV

Peyote rings created by Shayna Illingworth. I took a class from her on dimensional peyote - it was cool and was just the challenge I was looking for. She's a very talented young woman - watch for her!

Amazing what one can accomplish when one shuts off the boob tube. I have always wanted to be one of those people who don't watch much tv, but that is not usually the case.

However, lately there are far fewer programs on tv that I want to watch and this is a good thing. Leaves more time for listening to music, reading and cooking. Have a pot of ratatouille on the stove right now and it smells wonderful!

Today's quote comes from an unknown source: I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. There's a knob called "brightness," but that doesn't work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bead Retreat Today

Of course I have many projects to work on, but nothing gathered and ready to go. I should just work on UFO (unfinished objects) but those are still packed away after the major cleaning spurt.

I think I'll teach myself a new stitch today to see if I really like it (St Petersburg chain). It's a Russian stitch and I don't think I've learned any Russian stitches before.

Looking forward to the camaraderie and laughter today.

I had a kernel of an idea for a film project but I need to let it gel a bit before I begin to storyboard it.

Today's quote is a Buddist Proverb: When the student is ready, the master appears.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Craft in America

I saw just a little bit of the Craft in America (Season Two) on PBS tonight, but what I did see looks very interesting.

Hope you have a chance to watch it. I find it inspiring and I really like to see how other creative people's idea's come to fruition.

Today's quote comes from Phyllis George: Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bead Show Today and the Symphony

The Milwaukee Bead Show is today. Going with a pack of friends and have a short list (that I will probably end up not sticking to because I'll find something fabulous that I must have!)

Need to get a focal bead for a gift for a cousin and the awful part is that I know I have the perfect bead, but I just spent days cleaning up and now I can't find a thing!

Saw the Target ad today - they're now selling jewelry that mimics that which we beaders (and Sundance) have made and enjoyed for years - garnet and labradorite earrings and necklaces... A little amazed by that. Will have to check on the quality of the stones. Handmade will always be better!!!!!

Went to the symphony last night - hearing the orchestra warming up and going through the ritual of tuning brought back floods of memories as did the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony - played that - don't remember when or where or which orchestra.

Having a listening skill is important and may be something that we, as an electronic society, are loosing. Think about it. Sitting and listening to a book on cd or an orchestra without doing anything else.

Today's first quote comes from Red Auerbach: Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Today's second quote comes from Buddy Holly: Without Elvis, none of us could have made it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Out to dinner at Maxie's - a New Orleans style restaurant in Milwaukee. Love the decor - dark red walls, black ceilings and tons of crystal chandeliers.

As much as I think I'm so over crystals, there's something to be said for the Bling.

Quote for today comes from Jimmy Buffet: And I wound up in New Orleans for all those years and it was a great place, really a catalyst creatively.

Where Did Summer Go?

Where did the summer go? I woke up one day and it was nearly gone.

Queen Anne's Lace is one of my favorite wildflowers.

My Aunt kept quoting this poem on our short road trip during which we stopped to take these photos. My Grandmother used to quote it often and loved poetry.


by: Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

      THE golden-rod is yellow;
      The corn is turning brown;
      The trees in apple orchards
      With fruit are bending down.

      The gentian's bluest fringes
      Are curling in the sun;
      In dusty pods the milkweed
      Its hidden silk has spun.

      The sedges flaunt their harvest,
      In every meadow nook;
      And asters by the brook-side
      Make asters in the brook.

      From dewy lanes at morning
      The grapes' sweet odors rise;
      At noon the roads all flutter
      With yellow butterflies.

      By all these lovely tokens
      September days are here,
      With summer's best of weather,
      And autumn's best of cheer.

      But none of all this beauty
      Which floods the earth and air
      Is unto me the secret
      Which makes September fair.

      'Tis a thing which I remember;
      To name it thrills me yet:
      One day of one September
      I never can forget.

Now if I can figure out how to do simple editing electronically, I'll be set

Sunday, August 9, 2009

MOO Cards

Have you popped over to MOO to get your free MOO cards?

These little cards are great! I wanted to see what they were like, so I uploaded 50 of my own photos and had to pay only for shipping and handling (MOO does put a bit of advertising on the card.)

What a great way to promote yourself! I think of it as a type of 21st century calling card.

Another quote for today comes from George Carlin: The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.

Creative Drano

Sometimes I think that summertime isn't such a good time for creativity - one is beckoned to go outside to enjoy the weather. Well, today isn't one of those days - temps in the 90s with tropical dew points, so I'm hoping to get some type of creative work done today along with the other parts of life that one can't ignore for too long or the task becomes massive.

I'm still struggling with making time for creative endeavors when work and other demands drain me of all creative desires. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be, but it doesn't feel right.

It's not that I don't have ideas, I do, and I have a lot of projects in the pipeline, but that pipeline is clogged right now and I need some creative Drano.

The Bead Society I belong to had a challenge based on color - this is my entry. It probably won't win any prizes, but that doesn't matter. This is the type of Drano I may need on a more regular basis and maybe I need to learn to provide that for myself. I enjoyed the challenge on many levels. Could I have pushed myself more to create something more? Certainly. Am I happy with the result. Certainly.

I need to learn how to be more structured (on many levels) in my life. I think that technology also messes with my attention span. Time to step away from the computer.

Today's quote comes from Stella Adler: Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Film by C Cook

IMMORTAL CUPBOARD: In Search of Lorine Niedecker from Cathy Cook on Vimeo.

This is an excerpt of a film made by an old classmate at UWM, Cathy Cook. Makes me want to make films again. Wisconsin Public TV did an interview with Cathy earlier this year.

There's something to be said about films as an art form - they exist only when shown, when stored they are pure potential. In order to experience someone's work, one must take time - literally - to see the art.

I've been thinking a lot lately about art forms that exist in time - such as film and music. In music the art exists while not being played as a piece of paper. In film, the art exists in a can while it waits to be seen. I suppose that poetry and writing also fall into this category.

Cathy also talks about what she learned from Lorine... "I learned from her what she had to put aside or move around in her life to make room for poetry..." hmmm. Making room for art. Something I must learn to do.

Today's quote comes from Eckhart Tolle: All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

RIP Michael, Farrah and Ed

What a sad week for the entertainment world and for all of us.

I remember my mother taking all 4 of us children to see the Jackson 5 when I was young. My parents bought us Jackson 5 albums and let us hang a poster in the living room. They were so awesome (and still are.)

Maybe Michael Jackson will find the peace he never seemed to have in his life.

Today's quote comes from another person who we lost too soon - Gilda Radner: I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Have you heard of Wordle? It's a great site that will take words and make them into pieces of word clouds like the ones you see above. They are based on my blog, but of course!

Take it for a spin! You'll have fun!

Today's quote comes from Eric Hoffer: Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Projects from Bead and Button 2009

Fireflies at Sunset - class taught by Carol Cypher. Flexible peyote tube - love the use of the drops - brings out flashes of color. This one worked up pretty fast and I'm very happy with the results. I enjoyed taking class from Carol and really like her hair!

Peapod made in Mary Hettsmansperger's Color on Metals class. Loved the class, love taking classes with Mary! Learned so much and played so much.

Quote from Picasso: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

I Just Heard a Beautiful Sound!

Isn't she pretty?

The Hiawatha in Milwaukee.

The observation car of the Hiawatha.

The sound of a steam locomotive. I live fairly close to the railroad tracks and most of the time the horn is a sound I ignore, but this sound I love.

My family used to take the Hiawatha from Milwaukee to Minnesota for Thanksgiving. It is a fond childhood memory.

Another quote from today comes from Seneca: Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.

We Lost a Great Voice

RIP Koko Taylor 1928 - 2009

The Blues are American through and through.

Today's quote comes from Edgar Winter: As far as I'm concerned, blues and jazz are the great American contributions to music.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bead and Button Video

Short, but sweet. More on Bead and Button when time and energy allow.

Today's quote comes from Angela Monet: Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I do not understand why toilet paper manufacturers use animated bears and puppies to sell toilet paper. I think it's so stupid that I won't waste (pun intended) my money on their products. Does anybody care what kind of toilet paper animated bears prefer? I think we should bring back Mr. Whipple!

Today's quote comes from Abraham Lincoln:
What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.

(More on the Bead and Button Show when I get a chance to take some photos!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another June, Another Bead and Button Show

Image by Mabeline Gidez - Tiny Embraces pattern.

I have taken two classes so far this year - the first was Mabeline's Tiny Embraces bracelet. It was a cozy class - only a few of us - and I was the only one not to finish during the class time. Oh well. I'm going to finish tonight. I enjoyed learning the pattern and meeting Mabeline. I think that her designs stood out in the catalog this year.

Today's class was Color on Metals taught by Mary Hettsmansperger. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and made many pendants. It was the polar opposite of Mabeline's class - no mistakes that couldn't be fixed and involved using a torch. I was happy to learn a torch all day - feel more comfortable using one now.

When I get a chance, I'll take pictures and post them here. So far, this Bead and Button Show has been the best for me and we haven't even been shopping yet!

Today's quote comes from Anawanitia: Art is not so much expressing oneself, as it is discovering oneself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today's quote comes from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: . . . from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wish List

Wish List for Today: (idea compliments of curious girl)

  • to be creative, even a little bit, each day
  • to take time to smell the roses
  • to remember that creativity removes me from the world and its worries
  • to push myself to grow creatively
  • to work on the challenge from our bead society
  • to not compare my work and creative ideas against anyone else's
  • to silence the internal critic (tough one)
  • to organize those naughty little beads
  • to find inspiration everywhere and act upon it
  • to remember that I am not defined by my vocation
  • to remember that I am flawed and so is everyone else

Today's quote comes from George Elliott: It seems to me that we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good and we must hunger after them.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

At Last I Finished a Beading Project!

Mounds Bracelet designed by Kim Stathis
Took me a few tries to complete this beautiful bracelet - the perfectionist in me rearing its ugly head... and life got in the way. I know some people seem to be able to do creative things when they are caring for an ill family member, but I just seem to end up in a fog - moving through the day as best as possible.

Anyway. I am happy to have completed this! It's a little more complicated and shiny than I usually wear, but I like it - not practical to wear to work, but now I have something to wear to Bead and Button.

I'd also like to say that Kim is a great teacher and her written directions are easy to follow - I usually learn best by reading, but I bead best when the directions are pictoral and hers are wonderful (both the written and the images.)

Quote for today comes from Henry Ward Beecher: The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.