Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today is Meatloaf Day!

No, not the singer...the food! Watching the Food Network while reviewing my Face Book, and it seems every show is about comfort food, and each show has a version of meat loaf today! So today I present you the Face Book version of meat loaf, according to MonaRaeBeads!

Any good meal starts with soup, right? And some of you have colds in this inclement weather (well, not me; we finally have a sunny day!), so soup will make you feel better.

Bead Soup Party is on! Go check out Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things; she hosted an international beading/jewelry making party. More than 200 participants were paired up, and required to send each other various components, including beads, to make a piece of jewelry. The only requirement was that they have their own blog. It is inspiring, and if you visit blogs you will find different prizes; Lori has her own contest for visitors to the Soup, so be sure to start there by clicking Bead Soup Party.
I visited Julie Nordine's blog for Credit River Art Glass. She received components from Jess Italia Lincoln of Vintaj and made this fantastic necklace. 
Here is what Jess made with Julie's signature heart and components.

I also visited Marcy Lamberson's blog; I love her sculptural beads! Here's what Marcy made with Lara's (Stick Lizard Designs) components.

Another favorite lampworker is Libby Leuchtman. She made this with Kristin Latimer's ingredients.
I love the focal Libby provided for Kristin's soup! Here it is

Each of the blog partners has a list of the other soup "chefs". There's a lot to see, so just jump easily from pot to pot.

Okay, so first course is done and I'm getting full. I'm happy that I shoveled yesterday (twice!) because today I get to do what I want. I think I want to make beads...because I have less inventory! If you want some of that inventory, get a 15% discount on your order over $20 by subscribing to my blog and commenting on your purchase  "BlogSubscriber15". That's right, I've sold beads the last 3 days in a row! That is so exciting! If you want to see some of what melting glass is about check out this You Tube Video with David Patchen "Hot Glass Cold Beer". This is large scale glass blowing!

Also on Face Book today are lots of friends groaning that they got snow (me included) and those that rejoice it and those that didn't get any but wanted it. There is a baby "beautiful child" born to my friends and family, welcome into the world Keva! There are these beautiful big hole beads from Gemshow Online jewelry supply.

 There are fabulous shoes, and fabulous people, and fabulous games, and fabulous music, and even fabulous students. Check out the latter in this awesome sign language video

Did I forget anything? Like the meatloaf, my day, and my Face Book meatloaf has many ingredients, and there's always a new twist and more to add. But at some point you want to eat so you have to quit adding ingredients. Oh, I would love to have that discipline when it comes to making beads! Off to try that now!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So much snow!

I can't believe it has been 15 days since my last post! Since then I've had a birthday and about 5 feet of snow, cumulatively; 3+ feet of it just last weekend! There's another storm coming in today and ending Saturday morning. I'm glad I'll still get a weekend day; that is only if the news sources are correct. It's so hard to find reliable information on the weather in our tiny little town. To the major news stations (at least 2 hours drive away in any direction) Arnold doesn't seem to exist. Weather Underground, no matter how desperate I am to believe it, is sorrowfully inaccurate. Everyone I ask, recommends a different "reliable" forecasting resource. And if you believe NPR radio out of Sacramento, snow level this time around is 800 feet, AND sea level; San Francisco will be getting snow for the first time in over 40 years!

Some people are snow people, and some people aren't. No matter how many "flat landers" own second homes in Arnold, many just don't know how to "live" in the snow. Even "full timers" aren't all equipped to handle the snow they live in or flee from, here in Arnold. Regardless of the inaccurate details given by many resources for weather forecasting, when any of them warn of snow they are at least telling that much of the truth. The locals here just say, "If you want to know what the weather is doing, just look out the window." The key to living in the snow is know it is coming. Once you acknowledge that snow will come and may stop you in your tracks, you can be better prepared. Here's what I recommend.

Park your car in a place you KNOW you can get out of if snow is on the ground, and point your front in the direction you need to go so you won't have to stop and maneuver. Have both metal and plastic snow shovels in your car, on your porch, and enough spares to lend to those in need (especially if you are the one in need and an extra body is standing around!) Shovel around your car, especially in front, as if you will only have one shot at getting out, cuz it is likely that will be the case. Shovel while it is snowing if accumulation is great so that the light stuff stays light and easy to move. If you have to walk from your parking spot to your front door, DO NOT shovel all of the snow; at night bare ground becomes slick ice, and if you wanna' party with the other snow survivors and skiers you don't want to break a limb getting back into the house...walk on the snow you didn't shovel for safe passage and traction. Have wood to burn in your wood stove. If you have an electric range, you want a wood stove with a cook/flat top, and appropriate cookware. Have groceries ready for woodstove cooking long enough for a 3 day power outage. Have candles and flashlights and batteries and good games and books to read. HAVE A PHONE THAT PLUGS INTO THE PHONE JACK and doesn't rely on electricity! Most importantly, relax!!! Let mother nature take her course, eventually the snow will aren't going to die if you actually enjoy life for a few days instead of worrying about how much snow you will get and how long the power will be out.

Okay, so, I made some more beads and a necklace for my birthday. Here's the necklace  I did all the copper wire work and the lampwork bead. The necklace features fluorite diamonds and red jasper rounds and beautiful copper rounds.

I also made and listed beads. Check out my etsy shop for more than you see here.

If you are thinking you would like to make jewelry with my beads, go get some of the great finds at Rings and Things. They have a 5 Day Sale right now. I especially like these Crystal Prisms with the bead immediately above!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have "Bright" Faith!

Well, after a lonely weekend I decided to take Monday off and make beads, without question. This decision came after reading Danielle LaPorte's White Hot Truth article, "On bright faith and why falling in love is uncool". If you want to know more about me, read it! You will probably find out more about "you" in the process. I love Danielle LaPorte's newsletter/blog; she inspires me to personal growth EVERY time I read it. She's on Facebook too; go check her out.

"Bright faith is primal to creativity. Bright faith is essential to falling in love--with people,with causes, with your own unfolding self. Bright faith can be unnerving, slightly embarrassing, and awkward. We are trained to resist it, and we do so at the cost of innovation and the passion we crave." When I read this I had a little more appreciation for who I am when I'm having an exciting moment, and it gave me permission not to resist who I am at the expense of the innovation and passion I crave. So, I made beads.

My bestest friends have been asking me for specific beads. Joely wants a Buddha, Doug wants anything made by me, and Isaac wants ... well, other than to stay my baby boy, he loves anything I do or make for him. Doug loves everything Pink Floyd and Egyptian. Joely is pretty specific. I showed Isaac the beads that came out of the kiln this morning; it's a good thing his favorite is the one not made with other people in mind!

The Buddha was fun to make; he's the second one I've ever made. I love making sculptural beads; they dissolve all my worries. The scarab was made on a whim and I love it, but I'm afraid it will break when I take it off the mandrel (had problems remembering to keep it warm!) It has an eye of Horus (a bad one) on the back.

The bicone bead was an experiment that didn't work but gave me another idea for technique. It was Isaac's favorite and I'll string it for his Valentine's gift. And I know just the beads I'd use from Rings & Things; and they're having a free shipping deal right now!

These bicone vaseline glass trade beads (I have a lot left over from using some in my virtual necklace)! They're perfect for Isaac because he loves the color, it looks great with the celadon dots on the bead, and they glow in the dark!

I knew I'd find a use for these Mirage "mood" beads! They are the perfect shape and color for the scarab, which is made with green and blue dichroic glass.

Designing the necklace for the Buddha bead makes me want to keep it for myself! I envision tons of silver for a Tibettan look, heavy, with a tassel type pendant focal. How about this Karen Hilltribe Pendant to hang below my Buddha?

I have fun sharing my growth with you, and hopefully inspiring you with what inspires me. Please let me know that you are having fun too; subscribe to my blog by clicking on the right banner, and all comments are more than welcome!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cloudy With a Chance for Sunshine

It's a cloudy day, both physically and figuratively. There's a State of the Nation and a State of the State Address (both of which I avoid watching and being depressed by), and today I realized there's a State of the Town Address...reality slapping you in the face on your drive to the post office where you eventually run into every one who lives in the small town of Arnold, California. How sad to see a minimum of 8 business either for sale or rent in one small 2 mile stretch. How are we going to survive this economy?! In a moment I go from "Wow, there are so many opportunities" to "Wow, where is everyone going, and how are they surviving?"

I'm also continuing my journey to live fearlessly, but on a day like today I struggle with believing it isn't all just lala land diversions from the harsh reality of life. But, I have a choice and a voice. Reality is what we perceive it to be and it is possible to perceive opportunity in the face of hardship. And it is important to use my voice and let the Universe hear it, so today I say, if the sun won't come out to play, I'll play in the rain, joyously and optimistically. After all, what choice do I have but to live or die? Some say, "go with the flow"; dead fish go with the flow...I say, "Let's make a new wave!"

Okay, there's the pep talk. Now let's play with beads! I've been practicing stringer control. I am inspired by Melanie Moertel, JC Herrel, and Dora Schubert (to name a few). Yesterday I was reminded of Holly Cooper; she is truly the best lampworker in the world when it comes to stringer control!

Today I installed and began playing with Craft Board, the online jewelry designing program. I'm trying to understand from the points of view of both a buyer and a seller. It is a completely free program and can be used online or offline. There seem to be a lot of options, and no immediate "tutorial", so it will take a while to check it out. I did find a button that sent me to their blog; it seems to be a constant work in process with the last post in December stating that January would be a "boring" month. I subscribed and hope to see a new post soon, since January is over.

In the mean time I want to play with beads. I want to make jewelry. I want to show you the first piece of jewelry I made with my own, beginner's lampwork beads. It is the same necklace I sold the other day.
It is an 8-strand necklace strung on Beadalon stringing wire. Each strand is made with a different combination of gold lined seed beads, seashell chips, rose quartz, agates, amethyst crystals, lampwork rondelles (which you can custom order from me), deep purple metallic cut bugles, purple fire polished faceted ovals, fire polished green/blue seed beads, etched purple rounds, light pink silver lined bugles, seed-pod-shaped purple glass beads, purple metallic pearls, rose quartz seed beads, and lavender disks, and a carved, flower shaped, pua shell focal. The focal is secured by copper metal rings to a bail made from looped seed bead and crystal strand. Strands end with faceted light green metallic ovals and are attached to a silver 3 loop bar clasp.

I've linked the components to the Rings & Things catalogue. When I couldn't find the exact bead I linked to a suitable substitute. It only took an hour to find ALL these components! I followed David's image-search suggestion he left in comments to my They Say The Truth Hurts... post. I love it when people leave comments on my blog!

So, spread a little sunshine and "follow" my blog (click on the right column) or play joyfully in the rain and leave a comment! And when you do both, you make a rainbow in my life!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let Your Voice be Heard!

In the name of personal and professional growth I am practicing the art of being me. I'm declaring that to get back to me I will use my voice. I've always said that my gift is my voice and have often wondered how I was to use it. I don't think there is one particular way I was meant to use it, but rather that I should use it as liberally as I can.

My blog is my voice for growth and artistic expression. While entirely self-centered, my voice hopes to inspire others and to explore how I am being in this world. Am I being confident? Am I committed to doing what I say? Am I committed to being a super human being? Am I committed to hearing and seeing what the Universe puts in my path? I AM I AM I AM I!

At the doctor's office the clinician's all noticed my necklace. I heard a wish to be able to buy it, and I voiced the ability to make that wish come true. She bought it off my neck!

On the phone with my mom I was afraid to tell her about a new business idea. Committed to living fearlessly, I voiced my idea, and she LOVED it and inspired me to make it reality!

Is there something you have been wanting to say, but kept silenced? I say, "Speak!" Give freedom to your voice, fearlessly!
I've been collecting items to make a necklace around my favorite lampwork bead. Yesterday I found some beautiful but expensive trade beads at Rings & Things. Today I received a newsletter from R & T and was introduced to Fired Agate!
I found some beautiful new beads to add to my necklace and they are only $12.25 per 16 inch strand! Now that puts less of a dent in the money I just made from selling my necklace!

It is time to start putting the necklace together. Yesterday, I posed some questions to help make some design decisions. I'd planned on using Photoshop to virtually create my necklace, and thought, "I bet someone has created some jewelry design software that will make it easier!" Well, someone has! I found!

Craft Design Board is an online project designing board that allows the user to shop from multiple sellers in one place, put the components on the craft board, virtually try different designs, and purchase everything in one place. I'm gonna try it out and show you the results. I can't believe I've never found this; maybe it's because I've never asked for it!

Voice your desires, even if no one is there to hear them!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mother Knows Best

My mom always knows the right things to say! Today she told me that I tend to just jump and fly and when disappointment comes I crash so hard that it leaves me always feeling like I've failed. It's true; I've always felt like a failure and disappointment to those who matter most to me...I thought it was because I was afraid of success. Mom says, I never give myself the chance of success because (in my own interpretation) I jump from too high a ledge before I have all the feathers in my wings. These words come at the perfect time for me to hear and consider them, tell the truth about myself, and make room - move energy - for success.

Yesterday I showed you my favorite new lampwork bead (made by me) along with some silver filigree and spool shaped spacers.

I want to put them together in a necklace, probably a multi strand, but I'd like more interesting bicone shapes. I searched at Rings & Things for blue, silver, and white bicones and found these amazing Mirage beads. They are really cool thermo reactive polymer and only $13 for a strand of 10! But, I need to start understanding myself at this point in the design because I tend to put everything into a piece, but find my more simple designs the prettiest. As fun as these are, I need to bookmark them for another project because I think they would be wrong for the focal and overall mood I'm going for.

However, I also found these 12-14 mm antique Vaseline glass trade beads (expensive but I could sell what I don't use).
I also found these wonderful pearl and crystal bicone balls ($3 each).

And finally I found these larger, 10mm crystals ($8.35 per dozen).
I wonder if I could use all of them. Would you? Should I have a complimentary color to the aqua blue? Should I have a larger variety of texture instead of color? I also like artistic, eclectic, asymmetrical designs, but most people prefer symmetry and simple beauty; which would you prefer?

Comment below and help me put the feathers in my wings that will make this design soar successfully!