Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

I have been collecting skull beads for a long time, intending to make a necklace out of them - which I will do someday.  

One of my favorite things (although I haven't done it much lately) is photographing markers in cemeteries.  I find them to be peaceful places.  People used to picnic in cemeteries before there were parks.  Hard to imagine, isn't it?

This marker is from Milwaukee's Forest Home Cemetery - where the Davidsons of Harley Davidson fame were laid to rest (why do we use those phrases?) along with some of Milwaukee's brewers (not the baseball team but the guys who brewed "What Made Milwaukee

Someone loved this person very much - from Chicago's Graceland Cemetery.  It is a great cemetery to visit.  Mr. Fields of Marshall Fields fame is buried there, along with many other great Chicagoans.  Monuments in Graceland are, well, monumental.

When I go on road trips, I often see little cemeteries and wish I had a moment to stop and take photographs which I will - someday.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Today's quote comes from Theodosia Garrison:  At first cock-crow the ghosts must go back to their quiet graves below.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Day that Dad Would Have Liked


I think my father would have liked today - a warm sunny fall day with beautiful colors and the date.  I like to think that I note things like that because of my father.

Lake Superior in late September.

My Dad died in late June and I have found grief to be a tough thing to pass through.  I didn't do anything creative for a long time.

Another Lake Superior view in late September.

Then I decided to knit a baby blanket for a coworker who was due in late August.  I found knitting to be very therapeutic and meditative.  It was something for me to do instead of doing nothing.

Lake Superior sunrise.  

As I knit, I found that making something for someone else was a good way to rid myself of a lot of my grief.  Oh, it's still there and I expect it will continue to rear it's ugly head every now and then, but for the most part it has abated.

Then I went on to decorate a bra for my cousin to either keep or auction off for Breast Cancer research if she so chose.  She said that she was going to keep it which made me very happy.

"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"

I got some help from artists at work on the structure and armature.  Thanks Lynn and Marsha.

For a while I thought I'd never blog again.  A wise friend told me "it's there waiting for you when you are ready."  So here I am, blogging again.

I have been quite prolific lately which has made me feel a lot better.

A friend came over to help me design this awesome necklace to wear to a wedding.  Wearing it makes me feel really good.  Thanks for your eyes, Susan.  She taught me a lot when we worked together to make this design.  My sister did the awesome wire work.  I love this necklace and had been collecting things to make it with for a long time.

Two of my favorite ingredients are the raw tourmaline (black rocks) and the most awesome Anne Choi bead.  The bling is also a favorite.

I also made a necklace with skulls - from a prayer necklace - and I enjoy wearing that as well.

I am so happy to be creating again.  My father was always interested in what I created.  I suppose in many ways he is my muse.  I was so very lucky to have a father who understood creativity and encouraged me to create.  He was also an artist and I am designing some things that were inspired by him.

Today's quote comes from an unknown author:  Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bead and Button Show Time of Year!

Well, it's been a crazy week.  

Learned some new things from Leslee Frumin and Lynne Soto. 

Every year I think I'm over the bling and every year I learn more stitching patterns using bling.  That's what Leslee taught me - beaded beads using crystal.  They are beautiful.

Lynne taught me to use bugle beads in designs.  I am having a bit of a tough time figuring out just how to put the components together, but I'll get it, eventually.

Lynne Soto's Celtic Bracelet
Met some nice people at the show yesterday - Andrew Thorton (who is having a big give away on his blog - check it out) and some of the show organizers.  What great people!  If they are tired, they do not show it.

Managed to keep my bead purchases down so far, but there is a special strand of topaz that is calling my name.  

All this and lots of bean counting to do at work and a very ill father makes for a very stressful week.

Today's quote comes from anonymous:  You meet people who forget you.  You forget people you meet.  But sometimes you meet those people you can't forget.  Those are your friends.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inagottadabeada II 2010

Julie Miller
This was the second Inagottadabeada.  The first one was done in 2008.  We skipped last year and this year we are back!

Each year a ribbon is drawn onto a piece of fabric and cut up into pieces. Each participant is given a piece with some pink beads and given only the instruction that the pink section of the piece must be done with those pink beads.

No one (unless they share) knows what anyone else is doing with their section and I don't know how things are going to turn out until everyone turns their pieces in to me.

Sue Rejman-Zember
What I find interesting is how the participants' pieces differ yet how techniques and colors (besides the pink) are echoed across the pieces.
Brenda Schweder

Ruth Maegli
Julie's piece is dedicated to her friend Kelly.  See how the beads on the edge of the petals are on their sides?

Sue's piece is paisley - notice the beads on their edges outlining the paisley?

Brenda's piece uses a resin Barbie face - if you look closely, you can see hair!  

We all thought that Ruth's piece looked a bit like corn cobs in July.  (She worked on it at a bead retreat so many of us saw it.)  
Any J Smith

Carla Sikorski
My piece began with the frosted white beads in the top section of the X.  I decided to work in monotones. 
Addie Peterson

Carla's and Addie's pieces have kind of the same color scheme (but then they both love blue!) and the same composition.

Susan Duehl

Helen Dahms
Helen's piece - she was clever - underneath the bigger beads at the bottom she added some sort of metal or reflective thing - didn't notice until I was stitching her piece onto the frame.

Susan's piece is stunning.  I asked her after the last Inagottadabead how she had done her piece and she told me that she rips a lot of the beads out until it looks just right.  

After all of that, the piece is certainly more than a sum of it's parts.  Thank you to all the particpants.  Without them it would have lacked the personality that it has.  Here's hoping that it will bring big money in the Bead Social Auction at the Bead and Button Show!

What I don't understand is how blogger works!  I'd like this layout to look a whole lot nicer, but blogger is not communicating well with me!  

Today's quote comes from Vince Lombardi:  Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

Inagottadabeada II 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Why is it?...

That I forget about how wonderful it feels to work on a project?  To get into the flow and loose myself in the stream of the creation?  I've been working on this year's Inagottadabeada and it looks so awesome!  

What is pictured here is the Inagottadabeada 2008.  I came up with the idea and found 11 like-minded beaders to join me.  Each was given a square to bead with a supply of pink beads and given only the direction that pink had to go in the area on the fabric that was shaded pink.  They were not told what the design was, although I know a few of them figured out.

Wasn't the result great?  
Inagottadabeada 2008

This piece was auctioned off at the 2008 Bead and Button Social for a very tidy sum.  This year's piece is just as cool.  It is more than the sum of it's parts.  

Well, I have been feeling the itch to stitch lately, but I thought that it was crochet that was calling my name.  (Probably still is.)  

Bead and Button begins a week from today - a time of year I love.  I know that I'm going to be inspired and over-stimulated which is a strange combination.  Add to that exhausted.  Pleasantly exhausted.

Maybe doing Morning Pages and a little Zen-doodling this time around will help me feel more centered.

Today's quote comes from Linda Naiman:  When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I don't know about you, but I love me a great bag. I have too many, many discarded because they were too heavy although I really love the bag. If it hurts, it's set aside. Donate? Not yet.

The search for a perfect bag can be a long and tedious one. Too heavy, wrong color, right style, wrong size, doesn't close at the top and the beat goes on...

I should make one. Make one that I'll use and love. I have an image of a messenger or hobo bag with a leather gusset and crocheted panels with a lining. Maybe a bead or two. I'll put that on my creative list.


By the way, what does the Queen of England carry in her purse? Mad money? An extra set of keys to the castle? A handkerchief?

Check this blog out - she talks about those black purses the Queen carries.

Today's quote comes from none other than Shakespeare himself: Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor: For 'tis the mind that makes the body rich; and as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds, so honor peereth in the meanest habit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hello, Magic! Where have you been?

It's been so long since I've posted that Blogger has changed their interface - again!

Sometimes life gets in the way of creating and somewhere along the way, my magic gets buried. I know it's there, waiting to come out. You know what it is - that thing that happens when things click - when everything comes together and - poof! - what you were creating is complete.

My sister was married Friday and I wanted to make something to wear. By the time I finished shopping for failed projects, I could have bought myself something really nice!

I remembered that I had some rivolis that I bought long ago from Glass Onion Bead Company in Appleton, WI. Found this green one and wanted to capture it in a bezel but wasn't quite sure how I wanted to accomplish it. Knew I wanted to incorporate pearls for a rich look. Tried one netting technique and this is actually the result of the second attempt (is it fair to call it an attempt when I succeeded?), I love the way it turned out.

I actually had made another strung necklace with kyanite sticks, but really wanted to wear this - at what other time would I be able to wear this? With my polo shirt work uniform? Well, maybe. :)

Sometimes I need a break from creativity and I guess my magic's reappeared, so I'll keep working. My other sister thinks that there are steps of creativity just like AA. First one is excitement, second one is hard work, third one is dislike and criticism and the fourth one is excitement when the piece is done!

This week I need to work on a group piece that will be auctioned off at the Bead and Button Social. I've misplaced my piece, but will be able to do it once I get more of the other pieces of the puzzle.

Today's quote comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Foot in the Door Show 4 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Wall at the Foot in the Door Show 

Went to visit an old friend in St Paul last weekend.  The visit was refreshing and it was good to get away from home for a little while.  

Heard some great music by the St Paul Chamber Orchestra (which has archives of shows on Minnesota Public Radio.  MPR also has an awesome classical music stream which is great for me since there is no classical radio here anymore.)

On Saturday my friend and I went exploring - I love the Twin Cities, but don't get there too often anymore.  Usually I'm just passing through.  

One of the stops we made (besides Bobby Bead - my friend is a muscian, not a beader and beaders know that any visit to a bead store can be overwhelming) was to see the Foot in the Door 4 Show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  

Elizabethan Rabbit
I love the premise behind the show.  I stumbled across it ten years ago and was amazed.  

It's a show that ANY Minnesotan can submit art to, as long as it is 12" x 12" x 12".  (Hence a FOOT in the Door)  I think it's a great idea - but in practice it is a little overwhelming - as you can see there are pieces on top of pieces and the juxtaposition of pieces may make people miss some of them.

Chicken-headed baby.
Hand made of bent keys.

Marilyn Monroe pastel.
I'm so sorry that I don't know the names of the artists - this is but a small representation of what was exhibited and there were no tags with the titles and artist name. (no room!)

My camera kept using face recognition software when I was taking photos of pieces.  I thought that was odd.



I loved this meticulous hilarious piece.
I think some of the pieces were just submitted to see if they'd get in - they obviously hadn't had any thought or real attempt at being artistic behind the piece.  Some were done by young children - nothing wrong with that.

Sure didn't see all of the pieces - some were at 10 feet high and even if I liked a piece at that height, I couldn't photograph it.  

It was interesting to listen to what people said or how they reacted to specific pieces.  There was quite a bit of laughter, but I don't know if it was funny- ha ha laughter or the nervous laughter that one does when they don't know how to react to something.

There were a lot of "I kinda like that" comments as if the person wasn't sure if they should like something or not.  

Brick Stitch medallions
A whole piece could be done just on people's reactions to things.  What is shown here is but a teeny portion of the pieces exhibited.  I think there were about 400 in total, not counting the video pieces which are available online.  

In addition, Google has changed their blogging interface and now I can do more with formatting, but I'm not quite sure how to do what I want to.

I have been writing Morning Pages since January 20th.  I have been doing them on the computer, so I am able to add photos and other bits of articles, etc.  It has been very successful - helped me through some stressful times at work and at home.  I also journaled for many many years and this replaces both of them.

I have a wedding to attend in a month and I'm making a piece to wear - so I'll post that once I get going on it.

I also want to make a piece for my hostess last weekend.  I've gone through about 4 different bracelets - started them and they haven't worked out as I hoped they would.  But then, that's the creative process.  Try, try and try again until it works out the way you want it to.

I've been working on a large piece that has been years in the making.  I've also cleaned up my studio (which still needs more work.)  I want to do 15 to 30 minutes of creative work each day.

Today's quote comes from Aristotle:  We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Google Translator

So, a couple of weeks ago I got a comment in an Asian language on this blog - didn't know which one... A friend also got one on her blog and she thought that she'd translate it, so today I thought I should do the same.

This is the comment:辛苦了!祝你愈來愈好!........................... (and I just found out that it's Chinese)

and here is the translation:Worked hard! I wish you getting better and better!

Pretty nice comment. Thank you.

Happy Vernal Equinox

Happy Vernal Equinox!!!!! Wow. 12 hours of light (no sunshine here today.) That's good for us northerners who have missed the sun. Was 65 the other day and it snowed overnight. That's spring here in Wisconsin.

This is the work of Jim Kelly. He is an American Indian of the Oneida Nation. His work is beautiful. He embroiders and makes bags. This is the flap of a small purse.

He came to the beading retreat last week and we got a chance to talk about Native Americans and their heritage. The discussion reminded me of a book that I was given in high school - Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm.

"The Stories are about both animals and people. You will find Stories about Mice, Wolves, Raccoons, Otters and Buffalo. These Stories are almost entirely allegorical in form, and everything in them should be read symbolically. Every story can be symbolically unfolded for you through your own Medicines, Reflections and Seekings. As you do this, you will learn to See through the eyes of your Brothers and Sisters, and to share their Perceptions."

The Loose Bead Society has been lucky enough to have one Native American gentleman speak at a meeting and soon Jim will grace us with another talk about Native American beadwork. I look forward to it!

I'm interested in Native American beadwork and when I was searching for the Ogalala Lace stitch online, the only site that popped up was a Russian site! How strange is that?

This is a pin that I finally finished for my baseball nut sister. I'm sure she'll wear it with pride. It was good to get that crossed off my list of to dos.

Today I am heading back into the studio to make myself a spot to work. And then I hope to do some beading.

Today's quote is a Native American saying: Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.

One more quote for today from Anne Bradstreet: If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Retreat Time Again!

Downtown Racine, Wisconsin - Funky Hannah's Bead Shop on the left.

Every year, the Bead Society I belong to holds a weekend retreat just far enough away from home to feel like you're really away from home. We are very fortunate to have a great spot not far from home that has a great hotel right on Lake Michigan. Walk out the door and there you are! Racine, are you ready? Here we come!

I am so looking forward to it - a chance to sit and work on things with like-minded people is always a great thing. I'm looking forward to lots of conversations and laughter and beading!

I have yet to decide what to work on, but among what I take will be the makings of a gift for a cousin. I have yet to decide exactly what I'm making for her - lots of ideas spinning in my head.

I was pretty successful at cleaning out my studio - but still have a ways to go before I can comfortably work in there. Won't happen this week, but soon I hope to have a photo or two to share. What fun I had looking at artist's studios online trying to figure out what I liked and why.

Come back next week to see what we did!!!

Quote for today comes from my sister: Persistance, not perfection.

Keep on keepin' on, everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Completion Feels Good

Went to a Bead In yesterday that was held by The Loose Bead Society. We had a great time! Lots of sharing of techniques - my friend Mary watched me struggle with bead crochet again (it's been a long time) and I finally finished my chemo cap for the chemo cap crew.

I realize that the sentiment may offend some people, but I think it's funny and hopefully it'll be a good fit for someone who needs a cap to wear during chemo. I made it with the best of intentions. I don't do cute and I don't do puppies and kitties, so here's my donation, raw as it is.

I've been writing down my goals for myself every day - been doing the "Morning Pages" for nearly a month now - and I repeat those goals daily as a reminder. Now I can cross this one off my list. I've also been writing them down in my journal and sharing them with people so that I have a witness. Helps when you share.

Last week I focused on cleaning out my studio and have been very successful. I still have a way to go, but I am happy with the outcome. If I spend a few minutes in there, I should be able to clear a space to work on. Not quite ready to take my beading in there, but soon. Don't want to add yet another layer to it.

Today's quote comes from Margo Kaufman - One person's mess is merely another person's filing system.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Creativity - Nature or Nurture?

Frost on my stairway window.

Been thinking a lot about creativity lately. I have the ideas, but nowhere to implement them right now and no time, it seems.

Thought of my maternal grandmother this morning as I was casting off a hand warmer. I learned to knit in Girl Scouts. My grandmother did not knit until after retirement. Grandma didn't do canning, grow vegetables, or craft. Sometimes I wonder why - did it have to do with growing up on a farm and making everything by hand?

My father, on the other hand, made many things - furniture and candlesticks and designed and taught architecture.

My parents both are creative in their own ways and support and encourage me to be creative and make things. A woman I know has a son who is an Artist and has recently sold some major pieces of work, but she thinks that he should get a job. I, on the other hand, have a job and should get some Art! Thank you, Mom and Dad for supporting my creative side.

Part of creativity is showing up and I need to remember that.

I have been doing the Morning Pages that Julia Cameron suggests in her book The Artist's Way. I've been writing every day first thing in the morning for 3 weeks now and it's making the ideas come - flooding in, actually.

Today I begin to tackle the cleaning up and organization of my studio. It has been neglected for far too long and I need make a nice space for me to work in.

I have two quotes for today and they conflict:
A place for everything and everything in it's place.
My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ideas Flowing!

Lots of creative ideas flowing through my mind lately, especially when I'm trying to fall asleep. Some nights it's much harder to fall asleep than others.

I know that many of them will remain creative flashes, part of my irregular nighttime rituals, never to be consummated, others I will try and they will not work as I had hoped, and then some will be better than I could have imagined. (Just got another idea just now!)

Sometimes we all have creative droughts - I'm now having a creative rainfall. I write some of the ideas down in a journal in hopes that writing them down will allow me to sleep a sounder sleep.

I hope to get the chance to work on some of them in the near future. I need an Art day soon!

Today's quote comes from Charlotte Bronte: A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Life Out of Balance

This film came out in 1982 - I really liked it then - take a
look - it's short. The entire film (without commercials)
is powerful.

Today I begin to put my life back into balance. I am
optimistic and positive that I will succeed.

Several things in my life have thrown my personal life
off kilter and I intend to right that beginning today.

Today's quote comes from none other than Einstein:
Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Heard a Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing

in the dark of December

A magical thing

and sweet to remember.

”We are nearer to Spring

than we were in September,”

I heard a bird sing

in the dark of December.

Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

Monday, January 11, 2010

Palindrome Day 01-11-10

Okay, so I like numbers. I'm a geek - but unlike one of my friends, I do not read, nor shall I ever even pick up " The Journal of Recreational Mathematics." That sounds like an oxymoron to me if I ever heard one. But that's me. (And while I haven't actually seen the Journal, I'm told it does exist.)

I have my great-grandparents clock. It's a mantle clock and it never worked until last Saturday when I moved it and it started to tick-tock. Then it began to chime - and I never knew when to expect it, so it freaked me out a little at first. I figured that it didn't work and that this would not last. But it has.

Well, I've become accustomed to that clock. To the tick-tock and it's gentle reminders that time is passing. I like to think of my great grandparents marking the hours of the day (and night) with this clock. It's soothing, somehow.

My Grandmother used to have a number of clocks in her living room (about 6 - don't quite know why) and when I'd sleep on the sofa at night, all I could hear was all the clocks ticking - it would take me quite a while to wind down and go to sleep.

Happy Palindrome Day!

Today's quote comes from Harvey MacKay: Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Procrastination... or why I wait until later

This image looks serene to me, so I thought I'd add it to help me settle down a little bit.

I have always been a procrastinator. It's a hard habit to break. I once bought a book about procrastination and it sat next to my bed, unopened, for years. No lie.

I have before me a large task with a deadline, which makes meeting it a little easier and the reward once done will be well worth the work. I have to move two eight foot bookcases that are crammed full of books, journals and knick-knacks before I get a furniture delivery on Tuesday.

That means not only de-booking the shelves but moving furniture so that the shelves can be moved. So things will look very bad before it looks like I have accomplished anything.

Been very busy lately and have had no time to do much about it but think about it and now the time is here and what am I doing? Writing about it instead of doing it!

Today's quote comes from anonymous: Procrastination is the key to prolonging life. (I like this quote - it was the only positive quote that I found!)