Friday, May 31, 2013

Focusing on Life - 21 of 52

For week 21, Sally asked us to reminisce.

During the past few months, the kiddo has become adept at playing cards.  She's been playing Uno since she was four, but lately, she's graduated to Phase 10 and a multi player gin-type game called Five Crowns.

The kiddo's new found love makes me remember playing cards as a child.

When I was about the kiddo's age, my dad, tired of playing Crazy 8s and Slap Jack, taught me poker.  After that, I learned Gin and Rummy.

As I grew older, I watched the adults in my family play Euchre.  My dad explained the rules and, eventually, I was allowed to play.  Oh, that was an exciting day!

I don't know how many of you play Euchre, but it's a quick little game that only uses 9s through aces.  Each hand consists of five tricks.  One team calls trump and tries to win three of the tricks.

Playing Euchre with my grandfather was a favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  He loved nothing better than playing cards and shooting the breeze with the other players.

Grandpa was notorious for calling trump on next to nothing and getting the three requisite tricks.  I can still remember the way he would smile when he pulled off an almost impossible point.

Playing cards with Grandpa was always fun.  He would tease me about going set.  I would pass the bid hoping to set him.  Sometimes it worked, though most of the time, it didn't.

It's been quite a while since Grandpa has been able to play cards.  He still teases me, though.  :)

Sally, thank you for the trip down memory lane.

Please check Sally's blog to see what the other participants are reminiscing about.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Focusing on Life - 20 of 52

Please forgive me.  I am a few weeks behind in Sally's focus on life challenge.

For week 20, Sally asked us to look up.

As has been the case for several weeks, I was a bit stumped.  I thought about looking up through the trees or into the clouds, but settled on these photos.

I love our dogs' little faces and, as they are small, they always seem to be looking up at us.

Please check out Sally's blog to see what the other participants found by looking up.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What I've been doing

Wow .. it's been a while since I've posted.  I've even missed a few weeks of Sally's "Focus on Life" challenge.  (Don't worry.  I have one photo taken and will take the other this week.  I would like to get both posted this week.)

I wish I could say that I've been super busy and have a million things to show you.

Instead, I've been taking a bit of a break and working on one thing.

I've been totally inspired by Kate McKinnon's book, Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Vol. 1.

I am just amazed at the shapes and forms and the design possibilities that spring from the book.  I recently pre-ordered Volume 2.  (Yes, volume one is that good and yes, there are that many more ideas).

I've been playing with Kate's pagoda bangle.

It's about one third complete.  I want to add a few more layers to the over skirt at the top and one or two more horns to the bottom.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

To be truthful, I really want to finish this because I am dying to start on the Zig Zag Flower Kate posted a few days ago.

If you haven't seen Kate's book, definitely take a look.  You can order it here.

It's full of inspiring techniques and gorgeous photos.  I guarantee you'll want to start beading immediately.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Focusing on Life - 19 of 52

This week, Sally asked us to focus on hope.

Emotions, I think, are hard to capture in words, much less in a photo.  As in the last few weeks, I spent most of the week deciding what to photograph.

I settled on an idea and asked the kiddo for help. Luckily she agreed on the spot.

The kiddo loves dandelions and she will always grab one and make a wish as we walk to school or to the park.

Wishing and hoping are so similar that I thought a child's wish might work well for this week.

I tried to capture the little white puffs floating away, but all I got was this:

A few wishes stayed with us.  :)

Please visit Sally's blog for more hopeful posts.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A karate keepsake

I've mentioned a few times (okay, several times) that I tested for my black belt earlier in April.

I didn't mention that I tested with thirteen others:  four others testing for first black, one testing for second black, four testing for junior black belt, and four testing for black in ju jitsu.

The test was fabulous.  Everyone did a fantastic job.  It was one of my proudest moments and I was grateful to share it with the other testers, many of whom have become great friends.

Before our test, I asked Erin Prais-Hintz, from Treasures Found, to make a custom "simple truth" pendant for me and the two other women testing for first black.  Erin, who is busier than anyone I know, kindly agreed and even carved a custom plate for the pendant.

Our school's logo incorporates the yin yang symbol, so I asked Erin to use the yin yang on the pendant.

I don't know if you can tell by the picture, but the light half and the light dot are raised a bit from the dark pieces.

Erin used a combination of swellegant metal paints to achieve the patinaed effect.

On the back, Erin stamped the date of our test and a quote:  "we are what we repeatedly do."

I let out a little squeal when I saw the pendants for the first time.  I was floored by how amazing  they were.  I would say that Erin outdid herself, but Erin's work is consistently stunning.  Still, though, these pendants are my current favorites and they are perfect keepsakes.

I strung two of the pendants on a small brass rolo chain for my friends.  They *loved* them.

For my necklace, I made a beaded infinity loop.

I've read that a black belt is not the end, but the beginning of advanced learning.  Training is infinite and I've noticed that there is always something to learn.

I didn't have quite enough chain for my necklace, so I used pearls to fill in a few gaps.

I love the way the necklace turned out.

Erin mentioned that she might be adding the yin yang pendant to her line of Simple Truths.  If you want one for yourself, check out Erin's etsy shop.

Even if you don't want the yin yang pendant, check out Erin's shop. She creates amazing pieces of wearable art.

Erin, thank you so much for creating the pendants for my friends and myself.  We all love them.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Focusing on Life - 18 of 52

This week, Sally challenged us to create an abstract photo.

I puzzled over what to photograph almost the entire week until I bit the bullet and walked outside with my camera.

I took a few pictures of the kiddo's flowers and added a bit of grain to the pictures.

This one seems more abstract and I really love it.

These photos are very much like Sally's inspiration photo she sent us last week.  Sally, thank you for the inspiration and for another wonderful week.

Please take a few minutes to visit Sally's blog to see what abstracts the other participants came up with.