Sunday, June 29, 2014

Things I Learned From my Garden

A flower doesn't wonder about its beauty.  It just is.

A flower doesn't stress over its purpose.  It just is.

A flower doesn't judge.  It just is.

A flower knows it's a miracle.  And blooms accordingly.

Go bloom.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Inspiration: Age

Iris Arpel - style maven/maverick

Please, by all that is fabulous, let me age into this kind of style.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Not Hallmark

Three favorite things - pretty paper, glue, and rubber stamps.  Add stickers and scissors and here's some of what I came up with last week when I had a MAJOR card-making session:

I started with little note cards.  These are all about 2 x 3 inches, or less.  I love these little things to stick in with Etsy sales or to tag a gift.  I keep a black ink pad and a couple of "Thank You" stamps in the drawer along with these cards, making them so easy to prepare.  Sometimes (often) I like to add a little note, as well or instead.

Best of all, I now have about 100 cards to choose from.  The larger notecards (see above photo) will be great for letter writing, or birthday wishes, or more extended thoughts.

I love that they are all different.  And that they make the best of resources I already had.  And that they're handmade.  Very much "me."  

I spent two days just organizing my supplies.  Sorting paper, cropping images left over from my art cabochon designs, putting all of my stickers in one baggie.  I cleaned out two drawers of stuff and now have two gallon sized bags plus a plastic container for bigger paper scraps.  Not bad.

Once I let go of my fear of "using up" my supplies, I had so much fun.  Folding papers, picking out embellishments, choosing stamps.  I worked in stages, first making the card bases, based on what I had envelopes for, how heavy the paper weight was, etc.  I sorted these by size.  Then I went through my embellishments - stickers, photos, quotes, anything I had thrown in my collage stock.  I choose the ones that I wanted to work from and then just matched ephemera to the cardstock. I glued everything down.  And, since it was 3:30 a.m., I went to bed!

The next day, I pulled out my stamps.  I sorted through these, choosing ones I knew I wanted to use, then worked with one stamp at a time, flipping through my stacks of cards and pulling out the ones I thought fit the stamp.  Doing it this way, I don't think I used as many stamps as I could have.  But, given the amount of room I have to work with on my worktable, I made do.

Making all these cards fulfilled my urge to do some collage, to use up some of the fun scraps of ephemera I've collected, and gave me good practice for some bigger projects I want to play with  (booth props and altered altars).  And it was so much fun!

What's in your craft supplies, just waiting to be played with?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Life is short.

Or the beads/felt/jewelry/new bed/car/etc.

Eat the ice cream/brownie/cheesecake/blueberries/etc.
(Notice kale is NOT in this list.)

Spend the day relaxing in the yard/park/movie theater/bed/etc.

Take more time to enjoy the things/people/places in your life.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Something to teach...

Lots has been in the news recently about women as victims of violence.  With the conversation surrounding #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen, many people are talking about the culture of violence that we all live in.

Notice I said talking.

As a culture, we have a real opportunity to have productive discussions.  Not just about the reasons for the culture of violence but also about how to resolve the issue.  IF we can all agree to listen to each other.

There is a solution to the problem of violence that affects us all.  Somewhere, in the din of so many voices of opinion, there are MANY solutions. 

I talk to my students every semester about violence.  I have yet to teach a class in which there is not at least one victim of violence amongst the students.  Sometimes, they share their experience - a gift to them and to their classmates, as it makes the experience real.  My female students often share how they don't feel safe walking on campus, especially at night.  Most walk in pairs or groups, have someone come pick them up, or keep their phones on while walking.  

My male students are usually amazed at this, unfamiliar with the daily threat of violence.  

Unless they identify as gay. 

This coming Fall, I'll be teaching a class on "Perspectives of Masculinity."  I'm planning to stretch some awareness with this class.  One of my main goals will to build a policy of listening in the classroom.  It's the best start to the deeper conversations I hope to have.

My wish - to have the focus come off of victimization and move into empowerment.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I've been fighting summer allergies, which means that if I take meds in the morning my brain is too foggy to think and read History (and French.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

So... I've had time to bead.

Here's the results of some of those designs I set up last week:

I'm almost tempted to keep this one for myself.  The mother of pearl/silver cabochons used to be earrings.  I love how organic they look paired with the crazy lace agate.

I've had this focal piece in my stash for years, maybe ten years.  I've tried it in other forms but it just didn't work.  This time, I think I've got it.  It's also the first time that I've done an entire piece in size 15 seed beads.  Yikes.  Amazing how tiny those beads get after a few hours of working with them.

I'm also really happy with how this collar turned out.  The artwork is on balsa wood, something I think I'm going to try again, especially if I can find some wood pieces in circles or other shapes.  Love the flowers scattered over the pearls.

This Goddess piece also turned out exactly like I pictured it.  I love the position of the spiral above the Goddess.  Almost looks like a sun or a moon that's dancing above her, doesn't it?

Since I'm sneezing again today, the plan is to keep beading.  I've got a pile of fun to work on!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wonder Woman

I'm thinking I really NEED to make some Wonder Woman necklaces.

And pins.

And maybe some bracelets.

Even earrings.

Monday, June 2, 2014

In the interest of doing something I'm good at

I spent some of Memorial weekend laying out a bunch of new bead embroidery designs.

I've had this fairy/mermaid centerpiece for several years.  She was embroidered but the piece just never worked.  So, I'm trying again, and putting her in a larger collar piece.  I'm thinking greens and blues, with lots of sparkly crystals.

With this one, I want to do an ode to the Three Graces.  Aren't these faux carved bone figures wonderful?  I got these here at Christine's Cache.

Here's another focal I've had for a while.  It's from when I was trying to figure out a good way to do art pieces.  I used a thin piece of balsa wood and decoupaged this clip from an old belly dance book on it.  I think she needs flowers.  And a coin fringe. 

Here's an art clip from a Dale Chihuly exhibit photo, in Columbus, OH.  I'm planning to pair it with citrine and a bit of amethyst.  I love love love this chunk of raw azurite, paired with a fossilized sandstone.  I'm going to keep this really rough and rustic, I think.

The plan is to do black spirals on this large collar piece, using different finishes of black.  The abalone and druzy piece will be simple and fun.  Abalone is so much fun to work with!  I love the play of colors in each piece.

Seems I might be on a sea shell kick.  But just look at how these shells go with the oval of crazy lace agate.  Yummy.  The polymer cabochon is also yummy.  Not sure how the matte colors are achieved, but love the effect.  Check out more of her work here.

These dichroic goddesses seem like the perfect compliment to these cabs.  So magical.

And, finally, this wonderful Gandhi quote paired with a tye-dye cabochon from Purple Cactus Studios.

So much fun!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Studio

How's this for a summer work space?

Just a little slice of heaven.

The planting is all done.  Now, it's just sit back and enjoy.

and weed.