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Archive for December, 2007

What have I accomplished this year, in terms of my arts & crafts? I had a whole bunch of goals at the beginning of the year, most of which I did not come close to accomplishing. We will ignore those.

What did I manage to do? One of my pieces was published in the Your Work section of Bead and Button magazine. I sold a bunch of pieces. I completed an online course in Photoshop.

And, perhaps what I am most proud of, I finished the panel for one side of a handbag that I am working on. I just finished it this past Saturday – and yes, this is the Saturday night project I mentioned several entries ago. It’s done in bead embroidery on satin crepe, and it took 66 hours over a period of 14 months to finish. Right now I am calling it green carnelian, but when it’s nearer to completion I will give it a decent name.

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Here are a few detail shots.

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Pretty cool, yes? I’m very pleased with this piece so far. I’ll be ready to start the second side in a week or so, and hopefully will get it mostly done this year.

So I realized about half way through 2007 that I set myself way too many goals, although that was the first full year with Lily, and of course I totally overestimated the amount of time I would have to spend on my art. Now I’m smarter, and while I have set a few goals for myself this year, they are much more open-ended in terms of whether I will have time or not to get to them.

Of course I want to sell some more pieces. I would love to submit my work to Bead & Button, Belle Armoire, Somerset Studio, and Beadwork. I have a couple pieces that I am working on with hopes of submitting them as project articles to a couple of the above-mentioned magazines. I have a book on torchon lace-making that I would like to finish working through. I definitely want to learn how to solder, and I want to make microscope slide pendants, my own bezels from scratch, and bits of metal with words stamped on them to incorporate into my art. I have ideas for a mixed-media line of jewelry, and…

Did I say something about being smarter?

But to help me stay organized and on top of everything, so that all of my t’s are crossed and i’s dotted, all of my lists made, to-do items dutifully noted, warnings of impending holidays, birthdays, and anniversarys marked, may I introduce my new 2008 calendar book? Or, as I like to refer to it, my lifeline to sanity.

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Isn’t it pretty? This book will contain my life for the next year; it is my only weapon against chaos, and I will protect it at any cost.

I am now being taken to the sitting room, where I will watch the new year in on telly. – Edina Monsoon

So we were supposed to go to my brother- and sister-in-law’s tonight, but I have a little cold, and Marc is not feeling well, and Darren is sick, so here we are at home instead. I’m sure we are missing out on a good time and yummy food. It’s strange – it hardly feels like New Year’s Eve; when I got home from work today I thought it was Friday! I am so discombobulated from the holidays.

Here’s to 2007 – a pretty good year, all in all. And here’s to 2008 – blessings, good fortune, and good health to all.

Inside of my calendar book.

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 Our Christmas tree, featuring a menagerie of ornaments, with everything from handpainted glass to Homer Simpson on a sleigh.
So we had a lovely Christmas. Lily is too young to know what’s going on, but she did help open a few presents. Here are some scenes from the morning.
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This is Julian and Lily in front of the tree.  Lily was not in the mood to sit, and Julian looks half asleep still.  This picture does not do him justice – he’s much cuter than this!
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Here is Lily playing with one of her new toys. I got this from One Step Ahead; it’s this toddler puzzle thing, with pieces that fit into other pieces.  She seems to like it.
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This is Lily with our Homer Simpson Santa. There’s a button you push and he says different things. She loves him, for some reason!
I received many wonderful gifts. My hubby gave me a lighting studio so that I can finally take some decent pictures of my work. I can’t wait to try it out.  He also gave me a bunch of Tori Amos bootlegs from her recent tour – he knows he can never go wrong with anything Tori. Julian gave me a nice cozy electric blanket. Lily gave me a box of Jacques Torres chocolates. These are handcrafted gourmet chocolates, and they are to die for. Check them out:
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I also got two beautiful rings from my Mom. They were made by Tiffini Electra X. She makes art with a vintage look, and uses antique papers and images in her work. Neat!  As soon as I can get a chance, I will take a picture of them in my new lighting studio. 
What else? Oh, a couple gift cards for Joann’s – one of my favorite places. And a daily beading calendar, which I took to work to have something nice to look at and to remind me of my creative life that exists beyond the office walls.

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Thanks to the Christmas spirits I did manage to finish the important things. 

Here are three bracelets that I made as gifts.  They are simple wirework bracelets, but the beautiful beads make them stand out. 

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This was for my sister-in-law.  I love these bracelets; they are from my June Second collection.  I really have to make one for myself.

 

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This was for my sister.  Aren’t these beads gorgeous?  They make me think of the ocean. 

 

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And this was for my mom.  I made this to match a necklace that I made for her several years ago.

 

I also managed to finish the two gift boxes I had been working on.

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I had intended to take a picture of all the gift boxes together once I packed the jewelry pieces inside and tied ribbon around the outside, but of course I forgot until Christmas Eve when I got home at 4pm, and by then I was far to tired to gather them all together. What a shame, because it would have been so pretty! oh well, maybe next year!

I am so exhausted from the holidays.  I have a lot more to write, but it will have to wait.  It is almost 11 now, and I’ve got to get to bed.  Good night!

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I concede. There is absolutely no way I can possibly get everything done that I wanted to do for Christmas. Oh, I started out with grandiose plans and determined attempts at organization. I shall handcraft vintage-inspired paper ornaments to hang on the tree! I will make beautiful holiday greeting cards embellished with stickers, glitter and rhinestones! I will make not only gift bags, but gift boxes for all as well, each one unique! My handbag shall overfloweth with lists, timelines, and organizational spreadsheets!

Then, finally, 72 hours before zero hour, reality manages to clear a path in my brain. And I must admit defeat. How did this happen? It’s not like I’ve been sitting around doing nothing all these weeks.

Handmade Christmas cards? Forget about it. Embellished gift boxes for gift cards? No way – I simply don’t have the time to make enough. And the ones I’ve finished I need to use for jewelry gifts.

And don’t even get me started about all the cleaning that needs to be done for our annual Christmas Eve Bash.

 

May the spirits of Christmas have mercy on my soul.

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I had the pleasure of spending today with Lily. It was lovely, and so nice to have the house to ourselves for a while. She was mostly an angel, and a little bit devil.

Part of her lunch was a banana. Usually I cut it into pieces for her, but she decided she’d had enough with the little pieces and she wanted the whole thing. So I gave her half of the banana. I’ve never seen anyone this excited over a banana. She was so happy, she was yelling and smiling and laughing. Here are a few pictures documenting the event.

  

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I didn’t get a whole lot done over the weekend as far as creative things go, but I did get a bunch of presents wrapped.  As far as making stuff, I’m working on some small gift boxes to use for jewelry and gift cards. Here is one that I finished this weekend:

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I am pleased with this box except that I got a bit of glue on the ribbon. This one is a little over three inches by 2&1/4 inches, and will be used for a piece of jewelry. I love doing these boxes; I have a tutorial on my website if you are interested in my technique.

Here are a couple boxes that I started but are not yet finished. These are larger, about 3&1/2 inches by 3&1/2 inches. These I will use for gift cards.

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The images of the children are part of a collage sheet that I bought from Joggles.  Joggles is one of my most favorite websites. They sell products geared toward the fiber, paper, and mixed media artist, and have so much cool stuff it makes me feel faint with amazement and the desire to buy it all.

Well I still have several things to do tonight, and it’s already ten o’clock. I don’t know how I got so far behind in Christmas things. I still have two pieces of jewelry to make and one picture frame, and gift boxes to finish, and presents to wrap, and our Christmas Eve Bash to prepare for……I have no doubt that everything will be done in time; but I don’t dare look up to see the tidal wave coming at me.

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Where does the time go? It’s taken me forty minutes to add a link to my website and one – one! – blog to my blogroll. I did have resize the image for my website link twice and then upload it twice, so that took some time, but still. It takes me forever to do this technological stuff. Meanwhile the dust gathers on every uncovered surface in the house, and I honestly have no idea how the floors collect so much dirt and debris so quickly. And it’s 10:45 at night.

Anyway, I forgot about these casino-themed stickers that I bought at Joann’s on Saturday. 

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I am planning to make a shadowbox or some type of collage to comemmorate the several trips to Las Vegas that my husband and I have made. We absolutely love Las Vegas! The last couple times we were there I made a point of collecting bits and pieces – napkins, chips, matches, drink stirrers, slot machine vouchers, ticket stubs, pamphlets – in order to make something with them.  I thought these stickers would add another decorative element. I don’t think I will use all of them (like the slot machine or the drinks) but definitely the casino sign, the dice, and the cards would be good additions to the collage. 

My only problem is that I  can’t decide what kind of look to give the shadowbox. My usual style is antique/vintage, because I just love old things. But I’m not sure I could make all of the elements look appropriately old, so maybe a contemporary look would be better. But then I’m afraid that would just look tacky.  Then again, perhaps I could do it vintage and make up a story to go with it. That would be cool. Well, I have plenty of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m going to start this tomorrow. I do hope to start it at some point in the coming year though.

I’ve got to get in the shower and get to bed. Good night!
 

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Let’s review the weekend, shall we? There were many ups and downs, but I did manage to do a few artsy things.

 

Friday 

I finished one more large gift bag. I have now completed four large bags and three small ones. Here are the large ones (large being approximately 8″ by 10″), starting with the one I completed on Friday –

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I made these using scrapbook papers, rubber stamps, inks, stickers, and of course my indispensable glitter glue.

I didn’t have much time on Friday to work, between having to prepare Lily’s lunch for the next day and Project Runway. Friday is, besides my paper arts night, the night when I watch a favorite tv show and enjoy a bowl of popcorn. I rarely just sit and veg in front of the tv – I’m the type of person who always has to be doing something.

Now I’ve been watching Project Runway. It’s on Wednesdays, but I record it and save it for Friday. I thought this week’s challenge was really cool. I was sorry to see Chris go – I liked him a lot. Victorya came across as a bit of a control freak who wanted to be the leader but didn’t want to have to accept the responsibility that comes with it. However, Ricky needed to be a much stronger leader.  And am I the only one who is waiting for Jillian to go psycho? There is something very strange about her. 

Anyway, on to…

Saturday

So I have my special Saturday night project, which is generally a long, involved beadwork project that takes a couple of years to finish. Saturday night is a night when I have a good chunk of time to bead, which is why I choose that night to work on my long-term projects, although since Lily was born that chunk of time has decreased from 7 hours to 2 hours.

This Saturday I was lucky and got to bead for three hours. I’m currently working on a bead-embroidered handbag, and I’m almost done the panel for one side of the bag. I just need one more night to finish it. I figure it will take about two more years (at my current rate of beading) to finish the project. I started it in September 2006!  And I work on it diligently, almost every single Saturday night. I will post a picture of it soon. It’s pretty cool-looking, if I do say so myself.

And finally…

Sunday

My Mom and I went to the Bead Fest show at Del Val College in Doylestown, PA. It’s a small show, but there is still plenty to drool over. Unfortunately I’m on a very tight beading budget, but I did buy two lovely beads from Kate’s Treasure.

  

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I bought them with my future mixed-media, vintage-inspired jewelry line in mind. I thought the business card was lovely, too.

I had mixed emotions at the show. On the one hand, I found myself feeling frustrated – all these absolutely gorgeous beads, and I have hardly a minute to bead anymore. Sometimes I feel that the beading world and the art world are passing me by, while I squander my time and achieve virtually nothing.

On the other hand, I tried to look at everything as a source of inspiration and encouragement. The beads certainly aren’t going anywhere. If other people can be successful, then so can I. I just need patience, perserverance, and faith.

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