Friday, March 29, 2013

Focusing on Life - 13 of 52

For my entry to the Resin Slider Bauble Challenge, please click here.

I think this week's prompt from Sally was the most challenging yet.  Sally asked us to find "faith," that thing that keeps us believing, and snap a photo.

Lately, though, my thoughts on faith have been leaning toward having faith in myself.

I keep thinking about a quote from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back:   "Do or do not.  There is no try."

Sometimes it is not enough to "try."  You must "do."  I think, in order to "do," we need the faith that we can.

This week, the kiddo was trying to climb a tree in our yard.  Until that moment, she had been scared of climbing ... and falling.

She slid down a few times and scratched her knee a bit.  I was so proud when she turned back to the tree and tried again.

I heard her say, "I know I can do it."  She had faith in herself.

After a few more tries, she made it into the tree all on her own and even jumped down without help.  (Can you say, "proud mama"?)

Now, if I can take a lesson from the kiddo and break this brick that's been sitting around.  Breaking a brick is part of my upcoming black belt test.

 I've been trying for some time.  Trying is not enough.  I need to find the faith in myself.

Please visit Sally's blog to see where the other participants found faith.

Resin Bauble Slider Challenge

A few weeks ago, Lorelei Eurto found these awesome resin bauble sliders at Michaels.  They came in peach/purple (below) and aqua/teal.

Lorelei saw a great deal of potential in these little sliders and challenged her readers to see the same.

I was in the midst of my bead soup blog party projects, but an idea came right to mind and I had to join.  The kiddo and I took a quick trip to Michaels, grabbed a few packs of sliders and made it home in time to start dinner.

I wanted to make little beaded pom poms to sit around the sliders and gradually move out around the band of a bracelet.  Unfortunately, as it sometimes (well, usually) happens, my great idea didn't work as well as I thought it would.

I ended up going a different route and I am very pleased with the results.

I used two of the sliders together as a bracelet focal.

I'm a green and purple kind of girl, so when I grabbed purple and peach seed beads, I grabbed some light green pearls and teal seed beads as well.

I beaded the bracelet part of Marcia DeCoster's Rising Sun bracelet and attached the bands to the sliders

These sliders are incredibly light.  I was able to use fireline to attach the sliders to the woven band and it's very secure.  I would not have tried this with a heavy metal slider.

I love the look of Marcia's band with the sliders.  The bumps are a perfect fit with the little resin bubbles.  The band is a bit uneven because the first and last bubbles are not even.  You can't tell when you are wearing it, though.

The bumps look like little flowers, which makes me think of the bracelet as a small corsage.

(You can find more of Marcia's designs and kits on her website.  Marcia's first book, Beaded Opulence, is a great source for right angle weave projects -- every project is beautiful.  I am eagerly awaiting Marcia's second book, Beads in Motion.  If the cover is any indication, the projects in this book will all be show stoppers!)

I used the last slider as a necklace focal.

This came together on the spur of the moment.  I started looking for purple pearls and came across these peach ovals.

Later, I saw the purple pearls and Chinese crystals.  They all seemed to want to play together.

I restrung this necklace three or four times before I was happy with it.  Stringing, you see, is something I typically avoid.  I have a hard time deciding which beads to use or not use.  I am *much* more comfortable with my beloved seed beads.

That said, I think my frustrations were worth it.  I love how this necklace turned out.  I love the slider/seed bead focal.  I love the purple and peach (which I would never have put together on my own).

When I showed her the necklace, the kiddo looked at it with a critical eye, then ran upstairs and grabbed the extra sliders.  She said, "this will make it even more beee-u-ti-ful, mommy" and arranged the other sliders on the necklace.

I took a few pictures and came up with this the next day.

This is totally the kiddo's design.  I added the herringbone strips to connect the sliders.  Again, the sliders are so light that the small beaded links can keep them in place.

I finished the necklace with twisted herringbone ropes.

I like that the ropes mimic the curves on the focal.

I *love* how this turned out -- number 19,594 why the kiddo is awesome!

Lorelei, thank you for such a wonderful challenge.  I would never have noticed these sliders and I have had a blast working with them.  They are so versatile and I can see similar sliders in many other designs.

Please take some time to visit Lorelei's blog or follow the links below to see what the other participants did with these sliders.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Lorelei - our host

Friday, March 22, 2013

Focusing on Life - 12 of 52

This week, Sally asked us to notice the curves around us.

There are so many curves in the house:  bowls, toys, beads, the kiddo's rocks and blocks and even games.

I decided to focus on one thing in particular, however, and chose the kiddo's new bicycle.  She couldn't be happier with the bike.  It's black and red and totally her style.

So far, it's only been warm enough on a few days for her to ride it; and, let me say, she had a blast on those days.

We are still working on balancing and are slowly raising the training wheels.  Whoever coined the expression "it's as easy as riding a bike" probably forgot what it was like to be six years old.

The kiddo enjoyed watching me take pictures of her bike and even posed for me.

The bicycle makes me remember that, while the kiddo is growing up, she is still a kid.  She still needs my patience and understanding.  She still needs my guidance and encouragement, my love and support.  (Hopefully, she won't outgrow too many of those too soon.)  :)

Sally, thank you once again for a wonderful challenge this week.

Please take time to visit Sally's blog and see what curves the other participants found.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Focusing on Life - 11 of 52

This week, Sally asked us to look for possibilities.

Most of us are jewelry makers or designers and have the ability to see great things from a bag of tiny beads.

On Monday, though, I found a folder full of possibilities -- the kiddo's homework folder.

As I may have mentioned, the kiddo started kindergarten this year.  She has loved every minute of it and I have loved watching her learn more than I thought possible.

In kindergarten, the children are not just learning their letters, they are learning to sound words out, read and write.

Kindergarteners also learn math.  The kiddo can listen to a word problem, form an equation and determine the answer.

The kiddo tells me that math is easy.  I cannot tell you how much that makes me smile.  I am constantly amazed at how much the kiddo is growing and learning  -- for her, the possibilities are endless.

Sally, thank you so much for starting this challenge.  I look forward to it every week.

Please take a few minutes to visit Sally's blog to find the possibilities of the other participants.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Bead Table Blog Hop 2

Once again, Lisa Lodge of A Grateful Artist is hosting a wonderful challenge.

This time around, her choice of beads was inspired by the sea and the sand.  The beads I received were gorgeous shades of blues and greens with a bit of purple mixed in.

Lisa also added a few larger beads

and a few glass shards.

I used the sea glass first and channeled my inner Staci Louise.  Staci is amazingly talented and works in metal, clay and anything else you might imagine.  Definitely check out her jewelry shop and her component shop.

I love how Staci sometimes rivets a clay component to a flat copper sheet.  I didn't have rivets, so I tried wire wrapping.

The next thing I grabbed were some gorgeous triangle beads I dug out of the soup.  As I was pondering what to do with them, a tutorial for a pair of cubic right angle weave earrings by Marcia DeCoster came to mind.

I paired the triangle beads with luminous green Swarovski crystals and some scraps of chain I had laying around.

The idea for incorporating the chain came from Jill Wiseman's "Bohemian Earrings" in her book, Beautiful Beaded Ropes.

These earrings are long, dangly and fun to wear.

After completing the earrings, I saw a bag of moss green peanut beads on my desk.  They looked great with the soup beads.  I wasn't quite sure what to do, though, and started leafing through Bohemian Inspired Jewelry, by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel.

I saw Lorelei's "How Does Your Garden Grow" necklace and found the perfect solution.  Lorelei had used double strands of drop beads between larger beads.  I substituted my peanut beads and found the perfect clasp by Melinda Orr.

I really love this bracelet.

After I finished the bracelet, I decided to tackle the large purple round.  I just started bezeling the round with seed beads.  I didn't really have a plan, but I am pleased with the result.

I found a scrap of leather cord and loved how it looked with the focal.  I tried several things with the leather, but ended up leaving it plain and added a string of seed beads and chain.

The necklace itself is very simple, but I love how it compliments the focal.

Finally, I  returned to the soup.  I wanted to use the remaining beads to create a necklace using one of the sea glass pendants.  I created a beaded rope and loved how it looked.

The different beads look great together.

Unfortunately, the rope didn't work as a necklace.  Instead, I strung one of the larger green rounds in the center and made a second bracelet.

I am especially pleased with this bracelet.  I have enough beads left (I think) to make a second bracelet.  This might be my next project because the kiddo liked this one so much that she promptly claimed it for her own.

Lisa, thank you for another great challenge.  I love how your soups push me a bit out of my comfort zone.

Please take some time to hop around and see what the other participants made with their soups.

Lisa Lodge (our host), A Grateful Artist

Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress - you are here
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Dot Lewallen, Speedie Beadie
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Monique Urquhart, A Half Baked Notion
Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs
Cindy Anderson Wilson, It's My Sea of Dreams
Suzi Campbell, Suzi Campbell Creations
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Annette Rivers, MamaOwl's Mess

Friday, March 8, 2013

Focusing on Life - 10 of 52

This week, Sally, in her own words, gave us a prompt "that has many meanings" and challenged us to interpret "all wrapped up."

My first thought was to take a picture of the kiddo, wrapped up and ready to play in the snow.  She wasn't in the mood, though.

I started thinking of the different ways I "wrap" things:  beads in wire, gifts in paper, a scarf around my neck.

Then it hit me:  the handwraps I wear in kickboxing.

Please ignore the awful dry skin on my hands.  I promise, after I saw these photos, I slathered my hands in moisturizer.

Getting back to the wraps .. I don't know why, but I love to put these on.

There is something fun about letting loose and hitting a heavy bag as hard as you can.  I even like that "I can't lift my arms" soreness (most of the time).

Please visit Sally's blog to see how the other participants wrapped up their posts.

Giveaway from Staci Louise

Staci Louise has been working on some amazing new components.  Several have been listed in her etsy shop and she's adding more, it seems, by the minute.

Staci works in many different media and I thought I would show you a few of my favorites.

This metal clay charm is gorgeous.

This copper posy pendant would make a great focal.

Finally, I am in love with this polymer fossil heart.

If you are more interested in finished jewelry, Staci also has a jewelry shop.  I love Staci's style and I know you will also.

Okay .. on to the giveaway.

Staci is giving away one of her polymer hearts and a strand of beads.

Check out the giveaway on her blog and while you are there, take a look at all the wonderful components she has been working on.  Don't blame me, though, if you lose a few hours looking in her shops.  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Focusing on Life - 9 of 52

This week, Sally asked us to focus on doors, or a particular door, and what could be behind it.

I thought this weeks prompt was the hardest yet.  Our front door isn't very pretty and our back door, well, is a bit muddied from this:

Our dogs spend a great deal of time waiting at the door for us to return home.

This got me thinking about doors and what lies behind them.

My favorite door is the door on the side of my grandmother's house.  As far back as I can remember, that particular door was never locked.  Everyone would just knock and walk right in.  There was no need for the formality of a greeting  -- we were family, after all.

This week, I found myself wishing I lived closer to my grandparents and I could just zip over and snap a picture of that door.  It's not anything out of the ordinary, but there is something very special about a door that is always open to you.

Today, the kiddo and I visited my in-laws.  She and her grandfather had a wonderful time sledding.  The kiddo loves visiting her grandparents as much as I loved (and still love) visiting mine.

This is the door to my in-law's house.

No doubt the kiddo will remember this door as fondly as I remember the door to my grandparents' house.

Please visit Sally's blog to see what doors the other participants walked through this week.