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Archive for February, 2008

I’m listening to Really Rosie (for the second time tonight, so far) as I type this and I am just ridiculously loving this album. I say ridiculously, because it is a children’s album, right? I don’t really care, because I think it’s wonderful.

Anyway, last night instead of beading I worked on my quilt. It is a quilt kit from Keepsake Quilting called Vintage Chic that my Mom bought me for Christmas (by request) about, oh, I don’t know, maybe six years ago. I didn’t start working on it until Thanksgiving weekend 2006, and at that time I decided to dedicate one Saturday night per month to work on it. Which I did fairly well up until last summer, when for some forgotten reason I stopped working on it. So this year I wanted to pick up where I left off, and I have put aside one Saturday every other month to work on it (my Saturday night beading time is precious to me, and I do not give it up easily).

I had originally set aside a Saturday in January, but we ended up going out to dinner with my in-laws, and by the time we got home I just did not feel inspired to work on it. But I’ve been wanting to make up for that night, so I chose last night. At first I was thinking of putting it off again, but fortuitously I received the new Keepsake Quilting catalog in the mail and looking through it was reminded of how much I do love sewing (though I’m just average at it) and how lovely it is to work with fabric, needle, and thread. So I ended feeling excited and inspired to work again on my quilt, and I’m so glad I did, because it was such an enjoyable way to spend my evening.

Here is a picture of how the quilt should look when it is done.

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And here are two of the blocks I finished last night.

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The blocks are wider than they appear here; my scanner isn’t wide enough to fit the entire block. Also, on my computer they look intensely red; they really aren’t that overwhelmingly red in real life. And I did try to adjust for that in Photoshop. oh well.

I had already finished seven of the blocks last year, so I only had three left, which I was able to finish last night. Well, not quite finished – there is still a smaller square that gets appliqued to the center square of each block. So that will be the next thing I work on.

I had such a lovely time with Lily this weekend. She was in a great mood the entire weekend (Friday included) and she is just picking up words like crazy – I can’t keep up anymore with her new ones. She is so much fun and an amazing little creature. She was quite exasperating when it came to mealtimes, but her sweetness made up for it. I felt like crying when I put her to bed tonight, thinking of how I would have to leave her in the morning and go to work and miss out on her during the day.

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Chicken soup with rice anyone? Last night I purchased Really Rosie from itunes for my daughter. I remember seeing the movie in school, and I loved the songs, and even to this day I can remember parts of Chicken Soup with Rice. So I burned a copy for her but I’ve already listened to it twice today, and I could just play it on repeat forever. What great fun songs, so catchy but intelligent too. Carole King is perfect as Rosie and her piano-playing is wonderful. I love this album! Ok, maybe I bought it for myself too. Lily may be a little young for it, but at least she’s listening to good music.

American Idol is one of my guilty pleasures (from Carole King to American Idol – these are the times we live in), and I think we should all have at least five guilty pleasures. This is one of the few shows that I watch live, rather than recording it and watching it later, and since I always have to be doing something with my hands that means enforced beading time. So I started working on my Irina bracelet again. I first started working on Irina in the fall of 2006, and I’ve been working on her here and there since then. She started out as a bangle, but then I decided that I’m not really a bangle person. So I took the bangle apart and am now working on a new design. I am planning to submit Irina to magazines as a potential project article.

During this week’s American Idol episodes I came up with a really pretty, and hopefully unique, design – it has an antique look to it, which fits my aesthetic. Here is a picture of what I have so far:

irina-sample.jpg

I’m using only Czech fire-polished beads for this project, in blue and silver. I love Czech fire-polished beads; they are one of my favorite types of beads.

First I used brickstitch to create two individual pieces of beadwork. I
then sewed these together, putting the blue beads in the middle. I need to determine the best way to sew the pieces together – it’s a bit tricky, but it’s just a matter of trial and error. And the individual pieces of brickstitch are so pretty in themselves, I think I will try extending them into another bracelet.

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I just started reading the September/October 2007 issue of Somerset Studio (I’m way behind in my magazine reading!) and there is an artist profile on Julie Pearson. I haven’t read the article yet, but one of her quotes caught my eye. She said,

“Live what you believe; make your whole life your art.”

I love this. I am embracing this philosophy, and will strive everyday to make my life my art. I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing that, but I will figure out something.

Here are a few photos of Julie’s artwork from the article.

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This one is called Dreaming of Venice. Lovely!

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And this one is Homage to Oscar de la Renta. I totally love this shoe. There were a few other shoes too, but this was my favorite.

The rest of her art featured in the article is just as wonderful as these two pieces. She is very talented and inspiring. I wish I could make things like this!

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In my last entry I forgot to mention the German scrap paper hearts that I purchased for my Top Secret Mission, which I will now refer to simply as “the book”.

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Aren’t they pretty? They are approximately 3/4″ high by a little more than 1/2″ wide. I bought these at Joggles too. These will be used sparingly, as I’m not much of a “heart” person, but they fit the project. I might try painting over them, just a bit, to tone down the gold.

I still have not been able to publish the new stuff on my website. I’ve been encountering various error messages when I attempt to publish, and for the past few days my IT guy has been laid out with a bad back, so I feel bad bugging him about it. It’s very frustrating though, since I spent soooo much time making all the changes. oh well, I guess it will be fixed eventually.

By a miraculous confluence of events I had 1 & 1/2 hours to myself Friday night. It was quite wonderful. I got a nice bit of work done on my frame – I cut out the cardstock piece that is going to cover the back; I finished painting the peg-stand and dry-brushed it with gold; and I cut out and glued dots onto some of the areas that were painted with gold. By dots, I mean one of the papers that I am using has these dots on it, and I decided that it would be cool to cut some out and glue them onto the areas that I painted gold. I used a paper punch to cut them out. I’m very happy with how that looks. And one large area that I painted gold I decided to glue the flat-back crystals onto. I tried it out first without the glue, and I really like how it looked. I was happy when I went to bed, and that is not a common thing.

I’ve had this song in my head for days now, The Dolphin Song by Tori Amos. I love love love this song. The music makes me imagine an ocean scene with dolphins leaping in and out of the water. I’m still learning the lyrics, so I’m not entirely sure what the song is about. But there is mention of fishing nets, water spirits, a preacher man, the gospel, and dolphins. And a giant rollerskate.

I was at my Grammom’s on Friday night, after work, along with Julian, Lily, and my Mom. We were sitting in the kitchen, minus Julian of course who was in the living room watching tv. My mom was holding Lily, and Lily started to play with my Mom’s earrings. She shoved my Mom’s face to one side and then was pushing her hair out of the way to try to get to the earring, which she then proceeded to pull out. It was kind of funny, but at the same time I felt terribly guilty and it crystallized my feelings that women are expected to sacrifice too much. Maybe I was just tired after a long day at work, but I thought – my poor tired Mom, being further abused by a 20-month old.

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I worked on my frame some more last Friday. I added more gold paint around the inner part of the frame, put another coat of red paint on the peg-stand, and I planned out each step that remains to be done. If I don’t write down exactly what I still need to do, I’ll forget something. Especially since I am going to apply a layer of matte varnish which will need to be done before the crystals, the vellum, and the ribbon are added. I can see me gluing all this other stuff on and then realizing that I never applied the varnish! I also ordered, and received, the Swarovski flat-back crystals that I wanted.

I finally bought a copy of Bead & Button’s special issue, Vintage Jewelry. I’ve wanted it ever since I saw the first ads announcing it. I love it, and there are several projects I’d like to try. I lent it to my mom for the time being – as soon as I get it back I will post some pictures of my favorite projects.

My Top Secret Mission is coming along – I printed out a bunch of pictures on regular printer paper so I could play around with layouts and decide which scrapbook paper to use as the background for each page of the book. I do have a few more pictures to print out. I bought a pad of K & Company paper to use as my backgrounds.

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This collection is called Roam. I love K & Company – they make such beautiful things. I bought this particular pad from Addicted to Rubber Stamps.

Along with the black flat-back crystals I ordered some clear and blue zircon crystals as well for my Top Secret Mission. I ordered the 1.9mm size, and they are super tiny. I wish I had gotten a larger size. oh well. I also got some beautiful ribbons from Joggles.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?

Now that I’ve got most of my supplies (I probably will buy some acrylic paints too) – let the fun begin!

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Last Friday I did manage to work some more on my frame. I got all the paper strips glued on and painted the open spots with gold paint. I’m very
pleased with how it looks so far, except the gold paint is very gold, but I
think I am going to glue something else on top of the paint – perhaps some
black flat-back Swarovski crystals – to cover and minimize those areas. It was a challenge to get the paper around the corners – my lack of time makes me impatient so I basically just ripped the paper in such a fashion as to make it fit around the corners without having to fold it or make it look nice. Hence the open areas that I decided to cover with gold paint.

I’m also going to glue the flat-back crystals around the opening, to emphasize it and provide distinction between the busyness of the papers and the picture. I don’t actually have the crystals; I need to order them from Fire Mountain, and then I’ll be set. I’m also thinking of putting black or maybe red ribbon around the inner part of the opening, to help guide the viewer’s attention to the picture. And I also have some vellum on which I printed out a bunch of words that I’d like fit in somewhere also.

On Saturday I finally had a chance to work on my green carnelian. I
finished beading around the round cab and I started working on another one. I think I am going to work on the desert area, with the small cabs, and have that section go down the side of the working area.

I’ve started going through photos for my Top Secret Mission. Once I
choose the photos and format them, I will print them out on regular paper
and start playing around with layouts. I have a 14-page book to fill,
which sounds like a lot, but considering that I already have about 12 photos picked out and a bunch more to look through still, is really not enough.

I’ve been dipping my toe into the world of opera lately. A couple months ago I was sick of everything on the radio so I started listening to our local classical music station, which I have really been enjoying. I think for me the difficulty I have had with classical music is there are no lyrics, and I need the lyrics so I know what the story is. But I’m learning that with classical music, you have to make up your own story. Anyway, the classical station of couse plays opera too and I recently read an interview with Anna Netrebko, who is an up-and-coming opera star. The interview was very good, and piqued my interest in opera. I bought one of Anna’s albums last week (The Russian Album), but I haven’t really been able to give it my full attention yet. I really should like opera, because it’s so dramatic and over-the-top and I love those qualities in music. So I’ll give it a try.

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I’ve spent a good portion of my free time over the past two weeks working
on updating my website – I added two new pieces, put another older piece
in the limelight section, and added two more entries to my beading
dictionary. Doesn’t sound like much – until you factor in scanning or
photographing the pieces, formatting the pictures, making new pages, taking many measurements of each piece, adding all the necessary links,
photographing the beads for my new dictionary entries and formatting those photographs, and writing descriptions. I’ve stayed up late and used my free time on the weekends. I think from now on I will start working on my next updates at least a month in advance. And now I can’t even publish the changes because I keep getting an error message when I try. I have my IT guy working on it (in other words, my husband), so hopefully that will be resolved soon.

I’ve also been frustrated with the lack of beadwork getting done on
Saturdays – I’ve been able to bead on only one Saturday night so far this
year. At this rate it’s going to take five years to get my green carnelian
finished. Since having Lily, I am willing to sacrifice many things for
her. Money of course, and I generally am in charge of her when I’m not at
work. I wait until she’s napping to get chores done. I buy healthful,
nutritious food for her and spend a lot of time preparing it. I do all of
the shopping for her. However, the lack of time to indulge in my creative
endeavors is frustrating to me in the extreme. I guess I need to accept the fact that I only have so much time and just make the best of it.

The re-organization of my workspace/studio is almost complete. This is something else that I have spent the past two weeks working on. But it looks and feels so much better now – neater, more organized, no clutter – I really love it. The only thing is my new table is about 5 inches higher
than my old table and I need a new chair. I just have a folding chair, and
it’s too low now. I hope I can find one that’s not too expensive. I have no idea how much chairs cost.

On the creative front, I’m about to embark on a Top Secret Mission – I
cannot at this time divulge the details. Let’s just say that I’ve
purchased the necessary supplies, I’ve given myself plenty of time to
finish this particular project in time for a certain occasion, and I’m
eager to get started.

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