Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thinking and rethinking

Hi all, thinking about a comment on my BSBP reveal and I had to stop and think about what I wrote. The person said that one would not know that I stepped out of my color pallet when I did the pieces for the blog party. I looked at them, then at the shirt that I displayed them on, then looked at the other pieces that I have displayed and then.... at the design of my blog itself.... wow!
I guess that I never realized that what I post and how I post is so different to what I do every day. Maybe it is my subconscious working, maybe it is really what I love, maybe it is just me trying to be different than what and who I am???
Sooooo, here I am now, I thought about what it is that I love and what I do and what I have around the house, and I decided to update the design of my blog to reflect that... not what I try to portray myself as, but who I think I really am. Outside my house is the person that I married, the yellow house, The earthy bricks, the wooden furniture on the front porch, the earthy flowers that the birds nest in... those are all here because my husband didn't want to change the color of the house, he was a guy, he liked things just as they were.... when I painted the white walls in the living room, the walls that had been white for the whole 20 years that he had lived in the house,
The living room in Blue, Christmas '08 maybe. 
I didn't think he would be as gracious about it, but he took it in stride, not the color he would have chosen, not the "Impressionist Sky" blue and white trim, but he was really nice about it. When I talked about changing the carpet and tile (both dark brown) he did balk... but he let me paint the cabinets in the kitchen, they had been a dark brown stain and the tiny area looked even tinier if possible.... I tried white, to perk up the room, but it didn't look right. I didn't want to mess with the wallpaper above the cabinets on the soffit, I just didn't have the energy to take it down or to cope with the mess and didn't think that the paint would look right over it since it was metallic with green and gold and yellow pattern. Very 70s but not at all me...
So I tried the white and didn't like it at all, it was just not right, so I tried a buttery yellow color and that did it, the cabinets looked better and the room, tiny though it was, looked bigger. I painted the walls to match and did the dining area as well, but the back side of the cabinet that divided the kitchen and dining area didn't get painted, my husband liked the dark wood... ugh.  Somehow it didn't look right with the dark wood and butter yellow so I tried a couple of different techniques to give a faux finish but they just didn't look good with that darn wallpaper.That wallpaper was my main focus when it should have just been a little accent...I left it alone and learned to live with it.

Next was the office, which was plain white, had a desk, chair, file cabinets, game table(I know, no respectable office would be without a game table) a bunch of boxes, collectibles, and some goofy pictures on the wall... it turned into the nursery for our soon to be son. Well, at the time I didn't know we were going to have a son, I refused to look at the sonogram and wouldn't let the tech tell me what she thought... so I tried to do something neutral in that process so it could be either feminine or masculine (as much as is possible in baby terms).  The top half of the wall stayed white and I painted the bottom that buttery yellow and painted a border of cows, bunnies and chicks I can't remember the name of the designer that originally did the cute animals, I had seen them in a book and painted them  with hearts and dots  and a checkerboard pattern between each. When my son was born it seemed to be the thing to do was to paint a mural of a farm on the East wall of the room..

It turned out fun, I added a floor to ceiling oak tree with a squirrel looking out a hole in it, a bunch of flowers with bees and butterflies, a farmhouse and barn and a field with a tractor (had to be a John Deere) plowing, last but not least a pond with a frog and cattails. Among all this was a bunch of cows, pigs, horses, chickens a dog, bunnies, and some cute sheep. I loved that mural, it was cute as well as giving us something to point to at night and talk about instead of always reaching for a book... we made up our own stories.

When my son got old enough and we we added a little boys bed  and moved over the crib for our grandson to sleep in, I painted the room a pretty blue but still kept the mural and most of the border.  After the boys were big enough, the beds both went and we got bunk beds and lost the baby border but kept the mural... then it seemed like only a day and he was too big for that room, it was too hard to get in and out of there with bunk beds, bookcase, wardrobe, desk and toys... so he moved into what used to be my daughter's room or the guest room/ sewing room, depending on what time frame it was. The room was more of a normal shape and the furniture fit in pretty well... I decided to turn the nursery into a workroom. My husband had passed away so it didn't go back to the office as I had always planned to do... I don't need an office... using that room for a guest room was pretty much out of the question since it was such an odd shape and a queen sized bed was out of the question.. so it became my workroom. I took out the carpeting and painted the floor white and painted over the beloved mural. I thought I would cry, my son nearly did. It was time though and with a million pictures it was ok.  I painted that room a peach with blue bursts of color and put gemstones on and around the flowerlike bursts. I left the other three walls blue since it was a nice  blue and moved my junk in...

The living room changed from blue to "Java" and kept the white trim, that blue just wasn't working with the dark carpet and furniture, I gave up trying to lighten it up  but the kitchen changed dramatically. I didn't necessarily plan on tearing out all the cabinets out of the tiny space, but I had dreamed of doing it. The decision came from the cabinets that hung over the little bar. They had been put up with nails, don't know why they didn't use screws ... but they were slowly but surely coming down, literally falling off the ceiling. I marked a spot below the trim and watched it over a period of time.  Where I thought it had moved some... sure enough over the next couple of years it moved dramatically... I was scared about it and had taken almost everything out of those cabinets, leaving me virtually no space at all, three tiny cabinets were all the upper cabinets that I had, the lower cabinets were of no use. two were corner cabinets that were inaccessible, one was deep but really not usable since I had to literally get on my knees and crawl in. My dishwasher had not worked in years, my husband didn't ever use it I guess, I never did either. I wash everything by hand so it was taken out and I did makeshift shelved where it has been and painted them white. UGH

Well, when it was time to fix the cabinets that were falling down, I decided to look into getting a few new cabinets to replace the tiny ones above the counter tops. I don't remember what on earth I thought when I asked if we could pull out the soffit and replace the cabinets with  taller cabinets. It was not such a huge job, so the soffit was going to come out, along with the little cabinets...

Wow, I had always kidded that I was allergic to my kitchen... simply because every time I went in there I got a headache and it seemed I felt bad if I stayed in there for very long, but it wasn't just from my hatred of small places, it was a real reason... we found mold. Yes, it was black and growing on the wallboard and studs. Seems way back when, when they were building the house, it had a copper pipe run from under the sink up around the corner of the wall and around and down to the refrigerator. Normal I guess, I would have taken a better route I think, anyway,  when they set in the soffit it was set over that pipe, when they nailed it up somehow they pierced it. When they turned on the water it spewed all over the inside of said soffit. At some point I guess somebody noticed that it was soaking the inside of the soffit, and I would imagine the wall and cabinets... and they cut off the water to that pipe, eventually cutting the pipe off but never removed it... go figure, instead of fixing it they just did away with it. So long story short, I got a new kitchen out of that ordeal, we just tore the whole thing out. Every cabinet, counter, sink... it all went.

The cabinets that I picked out are a white, the appliances are still the grungy old ones but they work so I can't do away with them... the walls are painted with a cool looking pale turquoise kind of maybe a bit of green but a lot of whte added... and it looks just beautiful In my humble opinion. Kind of a robin's egg blue but not quite. I put up lace curtains that I purchased while we were on vacation and a swag to match the "Java" from the living room, and I found a clock, painting and glass shelf that make it look kind of tied in. After a couple of years, I still don't have the room finished. We did finally get the floor done, though it isn't what I wanted, but settled for, and part of the ceiling is done, but not the counters, sigh, I do still think that out of the whole house,  I love this room the best. It is more organized and I have totally more room to cook and eat.

The kitchen, not quite done, but it is getting there, this was at Christmastime!
The kitchen is "me". It looks like I feel. It looks like I want my work to look. Most of the pieces that I make are blues and greens, silver, whites, maybe some pink thrown in. Maybe I have been wanting to do other things and that is why I had started with the blog being oranges and greens and browns? Maybe I have wanted this color to stick around so I started using it when I took pictures? The dark colors for the backgrounds. I know that for some of the pictures it is just convenient to take the picture on the front porch, The color is there, black, rust, brown, orange, red, yellow.... those are the colors of the house. The rustic furniture is nice and easy to display on, Indoors I always reach for blues and purples to photograph on, but somehow they just don't ever look right. I try darker colors and end up using something that I have in the closet to lay the pieces on.

 This past year I have sat in the hospital with my mother and sat with her while she was recuperating, and in those months I tried to keep busy. At first I just sat for days it seemed. I just didn't feel like doing anything, Mom was out of it so much, and when she was awake, she was fighting the medications... I needed to find things to keep my mind occupied after a few days passed. It seemed that I had a little less time to do things that were tedious and more time to do those things that I can do mindlessly. Peyote stitch is one of those things. I made a ton of bracelets while I was sitting, I made stethoscope covers, I made ribbons of peyote stitched beads. I beaded myself out. I knit. I knitted a Mobius scarf, several scarves for friends, a pair of mittens for a friend... I crocheted beads, ribbon, wire, yarn,.... I doodled, I would draw, I sketched and wrote in a journal, I tried to keep busy. I finally got my talking books, but found that the player isn't quite what I thought it would be and I can't take it with me as easily but when Mom is here, I can put on the headphones and listen while she is resting.... So I can get back to doing the more tedious things again, with the aid of the magnifying glass and extra lighting, I can work with seed beads again, but I have taken a different approach to color and I didn't even notice that I had done it.

The more natural earth tones are really pretty and it seems that I have been using more and more of them in my work, but I love the bright colors, they are earth tones as well, those of turquoise, limes, silver. those are really earthy as well... just a different kind of earthy. I keep looking at the melon colors and the reds that are so "in" right now and love those... but I still am drawn to the blues and watery colors...  I have a necklace that I am working on right now, it is greens, mostly lime. I stopped and looked at it and thought, I love, love that color. Not the neon greens, the lime, lime color that just never seems to go away. That lime that seems to go with every other color.

I guess I just wanted to reassess my life again, seems that has been something that I've done a lot of lately. Though I don't ever seem to get really deep into the wherefores and whys of the things I do. Maybe it is something deeper with everything that has been bothering me lately, the eyes, the arthritis, the allergies, the working for myself,  the colors.... maybe they are all tied together??? Maybe I am over-analyzing myself? Maybe I just needed a break in the colors, maybe I'm just burned out working for myself, maybe I just have health issues and need to deal with it?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wow! What a beautiful day, quite cool especially after the heat yesterday, but we didn't have snow! We woke up this morning to no electricity. I jumped out of bed totally disoriented and wondering if it was just me or if things were too dark. I looked out the window and there was the faint light of the sun to the East and nothing else. No neighbor lights, no security lights, no street lights. I went to the front door and peeked out. It was quiet, not a sound and no lights at all. All the neighbors were still home as well, which is odd, usually there are several of the guys on the block that are at least warming up their trucks when I wake up. They are usually off by the time I put on the pot of coffee. Not this morning.
They never did say what it was that caused the blackout other than it was a substation and the whole Northeast of the city was out. We got out the flashlights and lanterns and dressed and ate. I wondered if there would be school, since the radio had said that there was no power to Permian, since my son's school isn't far, and sure enough his math teacher posted that there was no electricity... but school was still on... sigh...
The little Finches are back this year... the Mom and Pop had 5 little eggs, I don't know how she did it, she is about the size of the 5 put together... they are pretty, those little dainty eggs. The birds are as well, especially Daddy bird, he is the prettiest red this year, last year he seemed kind of dull, maybe it was me, maybe it was the hot dry Spring we had, I'm not sure... just maybe I am so ready for some color that he looks brilliant almost!

Momma bird is trying to get used to us again, seems she has forgotten that we are nice and won't hurt her or the brood. She nearly broke her neck and mine this morning. I didn't stop and whistle at her when I started out to the car. I forgot about her, thinking about the phone in my hand and the lack of lights and the cold breeze blowing from the North, I just didn't think about her. When I opened the glass door she flew off but must have been half asleep like me, because she didn't make the swoop under the porch and flew about the ceiling of the porch several times before she was oriented enough to get out with me ducking and trying to get away without her getting on my head or me hurting her somehow... must have been a sight! I am glad it was still pretty dark at the time!!!
 We sat out a tomato plant, don't know why because it will just be my son that will eat them as they ripen, I just thought the plants were beautiful and it would be nice for him to be able to go out and pick some fresh food. We had a couple of visitors to the plant. Are these the ones that lay the egg for the Caterpillar that eats the plants???
 I'm hoping that it isn't going to be eaten this year. I planted one last year and between the neighbor kids and the tomato worms, they didn't do well at all. This one already has a bunch of tomatoes... so maybe it is strong enough and big enough, and we have a little more water this year...

I worked on a bracelet this week, not much else. The news has had me in this funk and a flare up of arthritis and I twisted instead of keeping my back straight... and it seems I am not good for much! I have had this pendant for a while and didn't know how to use it, since I didn't like it for it being a pendant. I thought I might add some other stuff to it, since it is kind of plain still... but what?

I also was piddling around and did this cover for my notebook. Nothing fancy, and heaven knows it is not very straight, but I needed something to let me know at a quick glance that this is my project notebook and not one of the 50 other notebooks that I have. I think it will do that!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

After the party

I say after the party, but I am still reading blogs... Most of them are absolute works of art, blog and jewelry, the people in this Bead Soup Blog Party are so creative and fun! They all have worked so hard and turned out some jewelry that is worthy of a an art show. ( TO SEE MY REVEAL PLEASE SCROLL DOWN ONE ENTRY...)  This has been absolutely the best way to see the designers. I have tried to navigate BlogSpot and have had such a hard time finding people that I want to follow or want to just peak in and see what they are creating. I don't know if I just don't understand how to use it or if I just need to take time to read some instructions, or if maybe the site is just quirky?
Whatever the case is, this blog party, that was organized by Lori Anderson ( go visit her blog Lori Anderson Pretty Things  ) who has managed to get over 500 people together in three reveals to share and show their amazing work, has been great! Now, I am a fan of Lori anyway, she is bubbly and creative, but she is amazing at organizing this many people to partner up and blog their work. She even included people on Facebook... which to me is amazing skills to get that many people partnered up. And her skill whether intuitive , sub-conscious, whatever it is... is amazing. my partner and I share so much in common... Lori did an amazing job pairing us! It isn't just myself and Shannon, I have read so many of the blogs from the first reveal and the second that claim that she is psychic or something!

If you have read my blog, you'll know that I was partnered with Shannon Hicks ( Falling Into The Sky ). She sent the loveliest bunch of beads to work with. She pampered me with TWO focals and TWO clasps... Absolutely amazing focals, and well, even the handmade beaded clasp was beautiful.

All my BSBP pieces are in the blog below! this is a close up of the necklace
I can't say that I did them justice. I look back on the pictures and I wish I had been able to do more bead weaving in the pieces. The gold necklace was fun, but was taxing on my eyes. I had loads of fun trying out designs even with my eyes.  The big clunky necklace is probably my favorite. I used the handmade clasp as part of the focal in it, I just couldn't take my eyes off the beaded circle that was more focal to me than clasp... so I used it as part of the focal.  There was so much that I could have done but I wanted to show off a lot of the beads, and so I did. Kind of busy, kind of hard to photograph, but it is something that I will wear.

I want to say a huge thank you to both Lori Anderson and to Shannon Hicks. Thank you for the fun, and thank you for patience, and big thoughts and prayers go out to both. My hope is that Lori will be pain free soon, or at least to a point that she is able to function. I know how hard it is to be in pain and have things to do. And as for Shannon, I hope that her eyesight will be 20/20 when she has her cataracts taken care of. She is such a wonderful beader, her projects are works of art. I can't imagine doing this type of work with her sight being so bad. I personally have had to cut back on all my work and I even had surgery already... I am amazed at Shannon's perseverance.

And a huge thank you to everyone that commented on the pieces that I made. Thank you for visiting the blog.
Peace be with you

Saturday, April 13, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal!!!

Today is the day!!! I am so excited to finally get my post up!  I was supposed to be in the first reveal, but life sometimes gets in the way of what I need to do and what I want to do, and even after taking extra time, there has been more chaos and sadness at our house. Among the many things going on and going wrong, we lost our big Greyhound, MacIntyre, he was a dear, sweet soul that slept with my son especially when my son was sick., he watched over our Wolfhound, Elka, especially when she was new to the family and so sick and was an all around fun, bouncy, funny dog. Sigh.... so here I am!
Dear Shannon Hicks is my bead buddy for this BSBP( ), she sent me the most beautiful beads... Amber, Carnelian, Wood Jasper, Picture jasper, Delicas, crystals, silver lined seed beads... well... she didn't just send one focal... she sent two, she didn't just send a clasp... she sent two! The first focal is a beaded globe that is absolutely beautiful, the second is a tube of swirled peyote stitch that is just as beautiful... the first clasp was hammered copper type, the second matched the tube... I was in love!

Close up of the wire and bead crochet
                                 I don't normally step outside my color pallet... I know, that's not that creative, but I choose light colors normally... aqua, turquoise, white, pink... OK, so I do like those colors but it goes to my eyes as well, I have had several eye operations for axial myopia and for cataracts and then to remove scar tissue, and now I am facing one more to help my retina... hopefully it will all end up with me wanting to use bright, dark and in between colors! For now, I have had a wonderful time playing with all the beads that Shannon sent. I started playing with them the night that I received them... I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with them, didn't sit down and sketch out anything, just started doing a right angle stitch because I really loved all the beads and wanted to use them all, I thought if I made a pattern with the right angle and then used some of the beads as a fringe and used the tube and matching clasp that it would be great.... not so much, I took it out and started all over with something that would incorporate all the colors in it. I think I did ok with it, the necklace is something that I have been playing with for a while, I have some Celtic Knot beads and stone and I liked it so I adapted it and used some of the stone and chains that I had
planned on using anyway, added clay, metal. glass, crystal, stone, bone and some wire crochet that I had fun doing...but then last week I saw something similar on a page of Facebook... ugh... I hate that. I hate it when I play with an idea for too long and then someone else posts something so close to what I had been working on. I suppose that is normal isn't it? I had probably seen something somewhere that got me thinking on those lines anyway... So I did this necklace and got off track and made a bracelet and then a pair of earrings, ring, another ring, and another... I used the focal that Shannon sent as part of the necklace and used the clasp as part of the focal and the other part of the clasp is used higher up than the focal... I loved that clasp... I couldn't help using the clasp ring as part of the focal instead of as a clasp. The work in it is so beautiful and it echos the circle of stone...

Watch back showing clasp
Here is the watch I put together, I made it a bit more plain but when I had time in between the original reveal and now, I added a bit more to it, I like that it is dangly without being too much. I used metal, clay, bone, glass and crystal.

 Metal has always fascinated me and when I got the chance I took a class from Gwen Youngblood who is my hero! I love her work, and she got me thinking I could do just about anything that I set my mind to!
Later on I took a class from Richard Salley that opened up my eyes and gave me wings! He is probably one of the best teachers that I have ever had. I may not have been the best in class or the fastest... matter of fact, I think I was the slowest, but he encouraged and helped, and when he found out that I didn't have a clue what I was doing, he came by and would ask me questions and get me to thinking. I would dearly love to go to Mexico and take his week long course. ahhhh.... what would be more enjoyable? I used some of the beads from the soup mix in this and the second clasp is here. I mixed clay, metal, glass, crystal, bone and wire, and can't forget the riveting!

Another bracelet that I made out of an old fork. I like to pound away at the silverware, but this one was pretty hard, Stainless steel! It did come out to a pretty patina though, I used clay, stone, glass, acrylic, metal and wire.

Forged Forkcuff

I love that the colors in this were so earthy. It is rare that I use gold tones, but this got me working with them. I have a ton, don't get me wrong, I buy gold tones of things but they seem to never see the light of day, I fondle them and put them away in a drawer, thinking there will be a project for them... YES!

Then there are the rings, I had fun with those, I made one funky, one kind of nice, and one that I didn't like at all, so I didn't take a pic of it :)

second ring
 Earrings were fun, I used the Celtic Knotted Amber from the mix, they are something that I will definitely wear! I used some earring findings that I have had forever, and some chain that I've had forever, and a mix of the beads from the mix, adding some pearls and glass red beads to the mix. The chain isn't great but it is hidden enough in  here that it works.

I haven't made earrings for myself in ages. Don't know why, but I love earrings, always have... but just never get around to wearing any. This has really reminded me how fun they are and I will wear them.

 Then there is this... the other focal that Shannon sent. It is beautiful on it's own and I thought about just putting it on a beautiful chain or ribbon.... but I have been playing with Celtic Knots for a while, and I keep finding someone else that has something like mine, then I change it more... well. this is it   I absolutely can't see to do any small beadwork, I had to use a magnifying glass to do this, and that is something that I share with Shannon. She is visually challenged as well, so I know that Lori didn't consciously know that she was pairing us for that reason, but she sure did a great job!
Huge thanks for the wonderful mix of beads and findings! They really got me to looking another direction and a different color selection for sure.

We have been through so much recently, my son and his health issues and school... my work, company, the dogs, and my Mom... throw in a holiday and some crazy weather and it has been a wild ride. Here's to surviving spring break, STAAR testing, Vet visits, crying little boys, and the Bead Soup Blog Party! I have enjoyed every minute that I have spent browsing and loved looking at all the work and reading so many wonderful blogs. There are so many creative and fun people out there, I would love to know every one! A HUGE thank you to Lori Anderson for getting us all together, she has done a fantastic job and we all appreciate her work. Take a minute if you haven't looked at the list of people and their blogs that are participating  at and look at as many as you can, there are some amazing artists out there!
This has been fun!!

Monday, April 08, 2013

I have begun sneakily posting pictures on my Facebook page the items that I have made for the Bead Soup Blog Party, I almost can't wait now until the 13th. The projects turned out better than I had expected, and now that things are semi-calmed down, well... as ever they will be calmed down... I am breathing a sigh of relief that other people understand about things that happen that delay us or hinder us in some way. Me? Mine has been my Son, my Mother, and my Dog... and on the periphery is the kitchen flooring and cabinets, the trip to Dallas, Preparing my Summer schedule for work, Easter, my eyes acting up, and not the least... the housework.
    I suppose that everyone has problems and everyone learns to deal with them, me? not so much. I try to deal with all the chaos (and chaos is the only way to put my homelife... ) but somehow I get overwhelmed a lot. I kind of just shut down. Not really shut down, but take a step back and reassess my position. I find sometimes that is the only way I can cope. Kind of take a breather and see exactly what is the most important thing in my life at the moment and go with that. I hate to let other things go but sometimes I find that there is just not enough hours in the day to do everything that I say yes to. I try to say no.... but sometimes that is just hard to do.
   My son is having some health issues right now, and the doctors can't figure out exactly what is causing some of the problems. We have heard over and over.... you might just have to live with it... I can tell you that isn't what a ten year old wants to hear, and as a mom I don't want to hear that either.  With my daughter, it was really hard for her to eat, she had allergies and had to be careful, now my son is going through some of the same things but we can't locate the allergy, it isn't an ulcer, and he keeps having the pain at random times. I can't for the life of me see a pattern... He is having some other issues other than his tummy, and I won't go into them, but suffice it to say, I am worried. He is chipper about everything. I guess that is all he can be.  Yesterday he took the initiative to cut the hedges as well as cleaning up after himself! I have to say that he is such a sweet and thoughtful kid. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
     Tonight is kind of lonely, though it shouldn't be. The house is still somewhat chaotic but we are less one member. We took MacIntyre to the vet today, he was not feeling well this morning, but nothing really bad, though it turned into him being very sick and not able to walk by time for his visit this afternoon. He had to be carried to the truck and into the office. They weighed, poked, prodded, x-reyed and ice-packed and kept him overnight. Not sure what it is but that it could be a flare up of the Ehrlichia. Elka is lost without Mac to keep her in line... or she is saving up energy to get into trouble tonight... though there is no one to blame her escapades on :)
    Check back this coming Saturday to see the pictures of the jewelry that I made with the pretty stash of beads, focals and clasps that Shannon sent to me, and then visit her site to see the lovely Sand and Sea necklace she made from the stash I sent to her.

Monday, April 01, 2013

I'm sorry,
Me, who thought I  would be ready the week that I received my beads from sweet, generous Shannon Hicks @  I started working on them the night I got them and made two necklaces and a bracelet and earrings ... but you know, life sometimes gets in the way, I haven't taken pictures yet, and I don't have time to do it right now,  I promise to have them taken somehow by the second reveal on the 6th. I do apologize to Shannon, and to anyone who has stopped by and don't have anything to look at. Needing prayers from any of you who are so inclined. My son is having some problems right now, I don't want to go into it at this point, but I believe in the healing power of prayer and positive vibes.
thank you and love you all,

ps, someone asked me to turn off the 'captcha' on my blog, don't have a clue how to do that. any ideas?