Thursday, June 30, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Refreshing

It doesn't seem to matter,
when I need to feel refreshed,
it's not a cool glass of iced tea or lemonade on a
blazing hot day
that I find truly
Although this would refresh the body.
My greatest source of 
to be creative.
I find that being creative is 

I feel invigorated
physically, mentally, and spiritually
by making beads of some sort.
Glass is my favorite source of 
but when I can't melt glass,
I am still able to find
refreshment by using other media.
In the end,
it's always much more refreshing to be creative
than it is to even drink a
Diet Coke.
Creativity feeds my
physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday - Wait Till You see these Great Big...

Bead Balls 
I made!
Now, these babies aren't small.
I think the smallest two are around 1 inch across!
The others are closer to 1.5 and 1.75 inches across!  
Like I said,
they are HUGE
I can't explain what made me decide to make them this big.
After they cured, 
all I could think of was
What am I going to make with them?
Here they are.
I really do like them.
I just don't know how to use them.

If I come up with any ideas,
I'll post them here.
Feel free to share your ideas, too.
I also made these 1.75 inch flattened beads.
I do know what I want to do with them.
I want to practice my free form netting.
I think they'll look great that way.
What do you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Putting it together - What I've been doing with some of the polymer clay

I started out with these wood grained looking polymer clay nuggets that I made.
I added some veined quartz,
what was supposed to be a toggle, but I decided to let dangle.
I made a brass hook and eye.
I also made brass wire links for the bracelet.
Here's the final product.
If the quartz looks pink, it's not.  It's white.  This bracelet is big and chunky, and it's going to be fun to wear.

I made two of these smiling guys.  They will come back better later.
I decided that one would be enough for a pendant,
but I might take it all apart later anyway, 
here's the result.
Just a pendant, but, you what, These two guys might make a fun pair of earrings.
We shall see what happens!
I had a few left over from this set.
These are in my Etsy store now.
I was going to make a funky, lightweight pair of earrings, instead,
these discs wanted to be reborn in a bracelet.
Here's the final result!
That white quartz sure looks pink to me!  It's really white, though!
I paired the white quartz, the pink discs, and some crystal large holed beads.
This is one cool bracelet!
How about these headpins?
I really like them.
It's hard for me not to have headpins around, and I love them!
I just listed these in my Etsy store now.

This is actually a pendant.  I didn't do anything more than this and list it in my Etsy store.
This would look great on a chain for casual summer to fall wear!
I had extras of these.
They are listed in my Etsy Store.
So I made myself some fun earrings!
I think I'm going to enjoy wearing them!

Well, that's it for now.
What's your favorite medium to work with?
What have you done with your work?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Art Bead Scene Blog: June Monthly Challenge

Art Bead Scene Blog: June Monthly Challenge

My Intentions for Today

One of the reasons I love animals is that they tend to live in the moment, no questions asked.  If there's food, they eat it.  If there's someone to pet them, they enjoy it.  If there's danger, they run.
If they're tired, they sleep.

Obviously, Walter is living, that is, sleeping in the moment.  He was tired, so he lay down on my bed and went to sleep.  Never mind that I was planning to use the space creatively.  Never mind that I had hopes of using my computer there, too.  He was happy to live in the moment, make himself comfortable and sleep.

I had to stop and think about this.  I had wanted to hammer and make some components for a bracelet I was going to make.  Since I wasn't in control of the environment, (I have been well trained,) I stopped.  Walter needed his sleep.  I fussed a bit about this.  Then the decision was easy.  I decided to be happy.  I put away my tools.  I crawled into bed, and I took a nap.  When we both woke up, we felt better.   I was less crabby, and that felt good.

Call it making lemons into lemonade, or simply realizing that I can't control what other people do or say.  (In this case it was an animal, a cat.)  I can only control my reaction to what is said or done.  I was happy I took the nap. My intention for today was to accomplish something concrete.  It didn't work out, but I learned.  Animals know what to do.  They don't worry about the future.  They only think about the now.  I'm not sure I could live this way, but I'm sure happy I took that nap!

What do you do when you get stressed?  How do you react to what people say and do?  I'm interested.  Let me know!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Evolution of Ophelia - the Creative Process

Odilon Redon
For more information
and to see this month's entries
Click here.

When I first saw Ophelia, I was immediately attracted to the colors in the painting.
I knew that within the palette of colors,
I would find the passion that this painting inspired.

As you know,
I make lampwork glass beads.
That is my passion.
As you also know,
I am away from my home for about another month
that I cannot make lampwork beads now.
I have had to find other means of creative expression.
One of those means is
polymer clay.
I love using homemade beads and components!
looking at the colors,
I began to make polymer clay beads using my favorite colors in the painting.

I made these beads for accent.

I made this bead to be a focal with a more modern interpretation of the use of colors in the painting.

I used the funky focal.  Added glass pearls to go with the butter colored beads.
I even found some butter colored chain, which I loved!
I added some tin discs to contrast with the butter.
This was version 1 of Ophelia.
I took the pictures, and I even wore it.
I liked the look, 
bothered me.
I didn't feel I captured the passion of the painting.
Back to square one.
I put the painting on my desk top;
I kept looking at it.
Then, it hit me!
The colors!
There wasn't enough of the gravely, gray blue on the other edges of the photo.
Enter more polymer clay.
When I make lampwork beads,
my favorite beads to make are discs.
Gray blue gravely texture,
well, that didn't work exactly as I had hoped, but I did love the marbling in the discs.
Polymer clay is such a different medium,
but I am learning some of the basics.
Even though the color and texture weren't exactly what I had planned,
I do believe in creative accidents.
These discs were very much so the
creative accident.
I made some copper wire beads to capture the markings of the colorful orange flowers at Ophelia's neck.
Took apart Version 1 of Ophelia.
I added a second layer to the discs and beads that I made.
The butter colored chain, glass pearls, and the tin discs were included.
I'm happy to say,
I love Ophelia v 2.
So, tell me,
What do you think?
Ophelia Evolved!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Worn

An old, worn pair of shoes, now comfy with age, make a damp, dreary Saturday much more tolerable.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) Jenny's port was removed yesterday!  It's another step in the journey of healing.  Needless to say, she was very happy to have it gone!

2) Pixie's bandage was removed on Wednesday.  Needless to say, she was so happy not to have that thing on her leg.  I was happy that her injury healed so beautifully.  All's well that ends well.

3) We've had a lot of rain this week, and most of the time, when Pixie has needed to go for her walk to, well, you know, do her business, it hasn't been raining!  How's that for luck?  The two times it was raining, she decided that she didn't need to go far, and we were inside within 5 minutes!  I say, "Go, Pixie!"and she does!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nurturing Your Creative Soul

When Jenny underwent her stem cell transplant, I dried up creatively.  I tried to explain this to the social worker who had asked me what was the hardest thing to endure as Jenny's procedure was in progress.  I am assuming that she expected me to say something to the effect of "It's extremely difficult watching my daughter suffer," (which it was,) or "I'm totally exhausted," (which I was,), but she could not hide the surprise on her face when I tried to explain to her that I had not been able to "express myself creatively" all the while the stem cell transplant was progressing.  I tried to explain to her that without creativity in my life, I suffered a void that just could not be filled up by anything else.  I tried to explain to her that, not only was expressing myself creatively, a want, it was a physical, mental, and spiritual need.  I honestly think I stumped her with that response.  She just looked at me.  I am guessing that she must have thought that I was one of the most selfish mothers to ever exist on the face of the earth because I didn't mention my daughter in that reply. Oh, well, she did ask.

In truth, I knew what was happening with my daughter every step of the way.  I was drained, dried up, and empty.  If I had been able to express myself creatively, I might not have become so drained.  Sadly, there was never time, and my protective instincts to guard and take care of my child jumped ahead of my need to create.  At the end of 2.5 weeks, I could not think"out of the box."  Nothing inspired me.  Nothing propelled me to see life in unique and fulfilling ways.  Not only did Jenny need nurturing, I did, too. 

Since Jenny has come home from the hospital, and visits to the clinic are not everyday, I have begun to nurture my creative soul again.  I'm not able to make glass beads, so I've been "playing," and I do believe that play is an important part of the creative flow, with polymer clay and wire.  I had tried needle felting, but I just couldn't become enthusiastic about that form of creative expression.  I love fiber, and   I would, in the future, like to learn how to integrate more fiber into my creative voice, however, this does not seem to be the proper time.

Enter polymer clay.  Now, I am I learning something new and playing with some of the techniques that polymer clay artists use in their art.  (Trust me when I say this, it is a form of art!)  I have found that polymer clay is a very physical form of creative expression.  Working with clay gets those endorphins flowing.  I am not a polymer clay artist, however, I now have a tremendous respect for the people who are.  I find poly clay to be challenging.  It feeds my soul.

Next food:  photography.  I only have a point and shoot digital camera.  It's really been enough for me because through the eye of the camera, I can see things I've not seen before.  Note the photo at the top of this page.  I was "playing" with my camera as I waited for Jenny at the clinic.  From this side view, the painting reminds me of a huge eye!  It was something I had not seen before even though I've sat next to that painting many different times.  I love the combination of colors.  Oh, what beautiful beads they will make! 

My creative soul is finally being fed and nurtured.  Jenny is healing, even though she is tired.  In a few weeks, I'll be home again where I can melt glass and make beads to my heart's content.  Oh, the wonders creativity works on my soul.

Now, my questions for you are these:
How do you nurture your creative soul?  Do you need to be challenged by trying something new?  Do you like to play when you work?  I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

That was Then and This is Now

I remember being the one chosen,
and it was an honor among us grand kids,
to go outside,
under the biggest honeysuckle bush you've ever seen,
down where the spigot leaked,
to the patch of fresh peppermint that was fed by the dripping water
pick the peppermint leaves for the fresh peppermint tea that would 
the enchiladas, beans and rice that we were going to have for dinner.
As the years went on,
I grew my own peppermint,
and I still have snippets of it in my teeny, tiny garden.  I am usually able to get a cup or two of the delicious tea, before the weeds take over and the peppermint begins to recede. 
Now, this "younger generation," and I never thought I'd use that term!  They do things the "new-fangled " way.  Jenny has a Kuerig made by Mr. Coffee, and she loves it!!!   She makes all kinds of one cup drinks in it, including, peppermint tea!  I have to admit I love the convenience of it, and I love the tea, but there are times I love to remember, way back when, I was chosen to pick the peppermint leaves for tea!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Easy Peasy Polymer Clay Button Tutorial

While staying with Jenny,
I am not able to fire up my torch and make beads.
Although very disappointing for me,
this has forced me to explore other media to express my creativity.
One of the other media that I have been working with is polymer clay.
This media is fun and challenging.
I'm not an artist when using this media,
but I am learning.
I have a long way to go,
but, then, glass is the same way.
Anyway, while working with polymer clay,
I thought it would be fun to make a button.
I know that there are other ways to do this, but this is what I did.
Here's what I used.
a small ball of well conditioned polymer clay,
an acrylic roller,
a small circle cookie cutter,
and a needle tool.
Easy peasy!
You can make your buttons any size you like.  I decided that I would make this one a bit thicker than the other ones I made.  I broke off about half of the polymer clay that I conditioned and rolled it into a ball that was about as high as my cookie cutter and a little bit wider.
I flattened the ball with my hands, then to get rid of the fingerprints,
I used the my rolling pin to smooth the clay out, keeping the clay round.
After smoothing out the clay, I turned my cookie cutter to the dull side and used it to make an impression on the clay.
I turned the clay over and repeated the process.
This is what it looked like when I was finished.
See what I mean, easy peasy!
Using my needle tool, I poked to holes in the button, then turned it over to make sure that the holes went all the way through.
You will notice in the final product that I do need to clean up my holes.  I'll do this with my dremel later.
They didn't turn out as I expected they would.
Here's what my button looked like before I put it in the oven to cure.
I checked the manufacturer's directions and cured the button in my little oven dedicated only to clay at the temperature recommended for about 15 minutes.
(This is where you really need to follow directions so that the clay will cure correctly.)
This is what the button looked like after curing.  I really need to work on those holes.  
However, making a button this way is easy peasy!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kick The Can

announced their 
I new what I was going to make!

The challenge was to think about a time when you were a teenager or younger and
design a piece of jewelry 
based on something you did well
and were proud to tell people about.

When I was a young 'un,
the things that I loved to do,
in this order,
1) Read, anything and everything.

2) When I wasn't reading,
we were playing school, and I was either the teacher or the smartest kid in the class.  (Go figure, school was out, and here we were playing school.)

3) Play kick the can.  For those of us who remember, someone would find an old can laying around in the street.  (Do you wonder now how we managed to survive all of those germs?) S/he would begin to kick the can around.  Of course, others in the neighborhood would join the game until we all got bored or we were called home for supper.  I remember running all over the street, into yards, getting yelled at to stay away from the few flowers in arid New Mexico.  I remember jumping for joy when I got a turn.  I remember the occasional kick in the ankle when more than one of us attacked the can at the same time.  I also remember kicking the can so hard that I fell flat on my back! 

This monthly challenge brought back so many memories.  There were faces, bodies colliding, bent, dirty cans.
Fun in the summer, until we became too old for such nonsense.  Now, we remember.  I loved kick the can!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Six Word Story Sunday - Pixie



I  call it the power of 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Morning

I love the way the  morning light intersected with the rooftops.
Simplistic in its art.
Yet challenging in its vastness.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) I have been so confused this week about the day.  I just realized that I posted my Bead Table Wednesday post yesterday, Thursday.  Oh, well, I just know that things will be settling down now that Jenny is home and doing so well!

2) Even though Pixie has to stay in her bandage another week, or so, or more, we are enjoying her "drama" so much.  She lets us know that she cannot be put upon to walk too much on her injured paw!   We laugh when she looks so sad and expects us to bring her food and water to her!  Believe me, she can still do that herself.

3)  Nick will be going back to Chicago on Saturday.  It's been great having him here!  I don't think I could have handled Jenny's stem cell transplant without his strong shoulders to lean on.  I am so proud of both of my children!  I only wish I could express my joy as a mother appropriately.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday: There are the Beads this week, well sort of

I made a quick trip to Michael's today with Nick.
Well, I thought it was a very quick trip.
Nick was waiting in the car.
He thought I got lost.
Just goes to show how two people can look at the same event in different ways.
I found the red and white beads you see in the photo.
I also pulled out my tin and aluminum to make something for the
(A blog will follow on that later.)

I like what I made.
I think you will, too, when I show it.
It's just nice to know that now that Jenny is home from the hospital,
I can get back to beading and making beads and being creative.
I was trying to explain this need to the social worker at the hospital.
I'm not sure she truly understood how I felt.
For me,
the process of creating
is a physical, mental, and spiritual need.
I'm glad to be back to it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pixie was Injured

While we were at the hospital yesterday,
the dog walker I had hired to help with Pixie called and told me that she thought Pixie might have a UTI.
She said she would be happy to take her to the vet for me.
I agreed.
She's highly reliable and knows her animals.
Jenny gave her the information for her vet, and the dog walker took her there.
Less than an hour later, I received a call from her saying that Pixie's foot had gotten caught in a door
and she was injured.
Pixie was with the vet who called me to tell me that in order to get Pixie's foot back together, 
she would need surgery.
He suggested that she stay overnight so that they could perform the surgery in the AM.
I agreed.
The vet also told me that he needed to talk with their surgeon about this.
An hour later,
I received another call from the vet saying they thought hey could bipass the surgery.
They used surgical glue on Pixie's foot.
The bleeding had stopped.
They felt she was going to be fine.
I can't tell you how quickly we flew over to the vet to pick up Pixie.
When I got there,
the dog walker was paying the bill and telling them that she would be responsible for any future bills because of the injury.
I was impressed.
I guess what I had assumed was the car door turned out to be the vet's door,
and, according to the techs there,
her injury was really bad.
One of her digits had actually been pulled apart from her foot.
The dog walker felt terrible.
I knew it was an accident.
She was very honorable.
I was impressed.
Although this really hurt Pixie,
she's not one to be down and out.
Well, in this photo, she was out.
Her paw is really sore.
She goes back on Thursday to have her bandages removed.
Wouldn't you know it?  It's supposed to rain for the next couple of days.
We aren't supposed to let Pixie get her foot wet.
The techs there recommended a product called
Press and Seal.
Pixie is wearing it on her foot.
It did keep her foot nice and dry.
She also has pain medication, too.
They told me that it might make her lethargic.
I asked how I would know.

I had to smile when I opened the Press and Seal.
Look at the cute figures on it.
It was hard to get off after our walk,
Pixie's foot stayed dry.
Even the vet techs discovered very quickly that
Pixie is a princess.
She gave them the 
They felt it was appropriate!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Random Thoughts of Thanksgiving

1) Even though they aren't supposed to get along, they do!  I'm thankful.
2) The stem cell transplant is over, and Jenny is coming home early.  I'm thankful.
3)  I'm tired and worn out, but that means I'm alive.  I'm thankful.
4) I have two wonderful children who have proven the strength of their characters in this time of crisis.  I'm thankful.
5) Life will become more routine again.
I'm thankful.
6) Life goes on.  I'm thankful.
7) We have been changed for better or worse.  I'm thankful.
8) Our lives are certainly NOT dull.
I'm thankful.
9) Lemons into lemonade--the bitter with the sweet.  I'm thankful.
10) True friends and family, they've been here with us.  I'm thankful. 

What are your random thoughts of thanksgiving?

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Favorite Blog - Totally Tutorials

The photo has nothing to do with the post,
but since I like to use photos  in every blog post,
I chose this one.
1) I like it.
2) If you need to know something about blog building,
you might be able to find it on 
The owner of the blog describes it as a
"directory of free tutorials."
I find it to be more than this.
I consider it to be an 
amazing resource.
Blog owners submit their free tutorials to 
Totally Tutorials.
If selected,
the tutorial will, at some point in time,
be featured on the blog.
Topics range from "Accessories" to "Recipes" to "Bogs" to "Wool" to "Writing."
All of the tutorials are FREE!
I love this amazing resource!
I use it frequently.
Have you found it or another similar blog?
Do tell.
I'd love to know more about your finds, too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Six Word Story Sunday - The Worst is Over


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge - Numbers

This week the Weekly Photo Challenge was
I wasn't able to take a photo that I considered spectacular.
when you see my photo and understand why,
You will think,
as I do,
Are you ready?
Until you understand that the number in the photo
is the one that Nick wore in the Multiple Myeloma Run in Chicago this year.
As he said,
"This time, it's for Jenny!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1)  To say that this week has been stressful would be an understatement.  However, all is going according to plan.  Even though Jenny is feeling lousy, she is considered to be textbook in her progress.  The doctors keep telling her that by next week, she will feel like a different person.  They keep reminding her that the weekend is almost here!

2) Friends pop in and out of our lives.  Two special friends were in our lives this week and more will be coming into our lives soon.  We welcome their presence in our lives!

3) Pixie gets so much attention in this neighborhood when we walk!  People always stop and ask me what kind of dog she is, etc. etc.  Of course, being the diva that she is, she loves the attention and can't figure out why everyone doesn't give it to her.  That's my Pixie!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I'd be a big, fat  liar if I said that Jenny's stem cell transplant was not stressful for all of us.
One of the things I have missed, and missed terribly,
is the ability to work creatively.
Anything I took to the hospital had to be small and portable.
What I wanted to do, such as, work with metals and wire,
would require carrying and using, at least, one tool box, and, most likely, two of them.
Not only that,
the work would be noisy and not appropriate for a hospital setting,
much less a setting in which things should be sterile.
 My tools are not sterile or very portable.
So, tonight, since Jenny's counts are falling, as they should, and she is so tired,
Nick and I came home early.
All I did was cut out discs,
and that seemed to be enough.
Some creative juices flowed,
I have a couple of ideas now,
it was a wonderful feeling!
I think that I'll be able to face tomorrow more easily than I would have had I not cut out discs.
I feel better,
that's all that counts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday: Yes - No Beads This Week!

No Beads this week,
even though it's been intense this week,
I did manage to sneak away to the thrift store one quick evening.
I found this bracelet, and I loved it.
I was going to take it apart and repurpose it,
but I think I like it enough to wear it,
for now.
Do you ever do that?
Do you ever buy something with the intent to take it apart and make something new with it, 
and then, change your  mind?
Do tell.
What was it and what did you finally do with it?