The only definition of success that matters is how YOU define it for yourself

I'm feeling philosophical right now. Maybe because it's 2:30 am and I haven't gone to bed yet. More likely it's because I just finished my "long" run for the week at 2 am and it's impossible for me to go from jogging 8 miles to sleeping in 30 minutes or less.
January 23, 2011
I'm still training for the half marathon and it's in less than a month. For a while I was completely freaking out about the idea of running for 13 loooong miles. I want to be able to say I did it, but not actually do it. However, I am committed to doing this thing no matter what. I want one of those Flying Pig Medals. (because I'll run a half marathon when pigs fly!) 
What does this have to do with how I define success? My goal is to have a qualifying finish. That's it. Out of curiosity I looked up in the rules for how long we have to finish the race then did the math to figure the average speed. It came out to 3.8 miles per hour (6.12 km per hour for my non-American friends). That, dear readers, is walking speed and totally doable and totally not freak-out worthy. 
Does this mean some of the people doing the full marathon may finish twice the distance before I cross the finish line? Probably. However, those people have a very different definition of success than I do. They have been training forever, have run several marathons, have a strong competitive streak (that I don't possess!), and aren't 40 pounds overweight. Their definition of success is probably to attain a certain time they have set for themselves. 
Will being beat by people running twice the distance make me any less successful? No. Because I have defined my success as finishing within the allotted time. I don't care if I come in dead last. 
Does this mean I don't push myself? No. Does this mean I shouldn't train hard because I could theoretically walk the entire thing and finish? No. Does this mean I look pretty and graceful during that 8 mile run I just did? Nope. Was I fast? Absolutely not.  
What's astounding is I just ran 8 miles. 8 miles! That's pure insanity and honestly, I'm happy with even that amount of success. 
How we define our success is in every single thing we do. Some days are so trying it's a success just to get the dishes done.
How do you define success? Do you define it based on what someone else has achieved? Are you being fair to yourself when you do that? 
Please leave a comment below by clicking on the comment link to continue the conversation and add your thoughts about the subject.

Bead Table Wednesday: Feeling Really Bad about Hating on Kansas Edition

Fact: Remember how I was traveling with beads last week? So, the beads haven't actually been unpacked yet. Oops. So there's not much to show on the ole bead table except a super duper secret which will be revealed at the very end of this post. So, don't leave yet!If you read my blog post from Monday, I sort of mentioned driving through Kansas might not have been the highlight of our vacation. I am really feeling guilty about that. Here's why:
Dragon Scale Bracelet
See that awesome dragonscale weave using those yummy niobium rings? If it hadn't been for Kansas, I would NOT have finished this bracelet in one day. Plus, for the 3 hours of Kansas I personally drove on the way home, I got to see the strategy for keeping people's hopes up and providing the reserves they need to keep going...SIGNS! There were signs for Applebees or Dairy Queen 100 miles in advance. That's a lot of advance notice, people. Luckily there were lots of reminders because after another 1 1/2 hours of driving those 100 miles, it's very possible I would have forgotten about these things.There were also signs that advertised "See LIVE rattlesnakes Eat baby pigs!" I was amazed they would advertise something so morbid on the side of the road. Every few miles. For hundreds of miles. I loved it.But guess what! I read the sign wrong. It actually said " See LIVE rattlesnakes! Pet baby pigs!" It kind of lost it's charm after that.I also did make a few things while we were in Colorado. I didn't just torment my husband for the fun of it. I will show you a small sampling if you promise to not criticize the lack of patina on pieces that clearly need it (no, I did not take the Liver of Sulfur with me...that probably would have gotten us kicked out of the condo), or the lack of tumbling (didn't take the tumber either), or the lack of great photos because these photos have not been edited in any way shape or form. You've been warned.
I have redone the following pendant several times because the twig connector by Jade Scott just would not sit how I wanted it to. I was fighting gravity and gravity was winning. Well...I took this photo then had an epiphany. It is very likely it will change again.
The following pendant was inspired by one of Cindy Wimmer's designs in Wire Style 2 (more on this in a post next week):
Chainmaille pendants inspired by Scott David Plumlee (more on this in a later post):
This design was kind of inspired by a design in Wire Style 2 by Kerry Bogert:
This next one was inspired by that same Kerry Bogert design, but I have done something similar to this particular piece a few years ago:
Chainmaille weave bracelet design inspired by Scott David Plumlee (again, more on this in a later post):
Chainmaille Bracelet
Now for the super secret project reveal:
Super Secret Project-SHHH!
Any guesses as to what it is? I will tell you this much. Back in January, I shared some of my goals for the year. Today, I submitted my very first design to a magazine. I don't know if they will accept it. But I'm totally ok with it if they don't. If I wasn't ok with the idea of rejection, I sure wouldn't be putting it here for you all to read! According to my goals, that's one query done, only 11 more to go... 
Wanna know another secret? Shhhh! Part of the reason I was finally able to "get around" to doing it? Is because I am taking a class with Tara Gentile called The Art of Action, which has been incredibly helpful for me and the other women taking this class. I will be talking more about it in the next few weeks as there are many changes coming that I'm very excited about. Stay tuned...I know you have something to say. Please leave a comment by clicking on that tiny little comment link below. 

Have Beads, Will Travel

There are 3 certain members of my immediate family who are insane.
03 22 11 Copper Mtn
Apparently that leaves me in the lonely position of being the only sane one (pets don't count and even if they did, we seem to have a neurotic lot of them). What this means is, they want to go to Colorado, ride the carnival death ride to the top of the mountain, then fling themselves down said mountain on slicked up aerodynamic sticks.
03 22 11 Copper Mtn
03 22 11 037 Copper Mtn
Crazy, right?Each year, I have to go along. I think my purpose is insurance card carrier, pack mule, cook, chauffeur, errand runner, moral support using my sparkling personality. Actually, I enjoy going because it means I get the condo to myself for several hours on end. If they take too long to leave for their day of insanity, I am literally putting their equipment on them and shoving them out the door and telling them not to come back before dinner.What does this have to do with traveling with beads? We left for Colorado Friday March 18th. It's a looooong drive from northeast Indiana (Ft Wayne) to somewhere in the middle of Colorado (Copper Mountain).Did you know I-70 through Kansas is 423 miles long? Want to know how I know that? We did that drive TWICE in less than a week. Also, did you know that the first 150 or so miles of I-70 in eastern Colorado looks JUST LIKE KANSAS?!?!?! For those of you counting, that's like driving 1,146 miles of Kansas in less than a week. Never been on I-70 in Kansas? You should try it. You'll LOVE it (snicker snicker).When we were packing up the truck the day we were leaving, I casually mentioned packing most of my studio to my wonderful husband.Blink. "What?""I packed most of my studio. I hope you can make room for it in the car."I saw I was losing him fast, so I had to start talking fast. "Listen, I have a big show in a few weeks that I am not anywhere near ready for. I will freak out and not go with you. Plus, if I do go and my studio doesn't, I will be driving to Frisco while you are skiing to visit the awesome bead and yarn shops plus all the other really cool shops on Main St. and spending lots of money. So, will the extra luggage fit or not?"It fit just fine.See? It made it safe and sound and we didn't have to leave our clothes at home. Perhaps I exaggerated a teensy bit about packing the entire studio. I didn't bring my torch or any glass...
Have Beads, Will Travel
Here's that (REALLY heavy!) suitcase opened up:
Have Beads, Will Travel
Here's the coffee table after day 1 of my jewelry making extravaganza:
Have Beads, Will Travel
I sort of took over the entire condo:
Have Beads, Will Travel
Have Beads, Will Travel
The kitchen too:
Have Beads, Will Travel
Plus I had this lovely view. The door to the patio had to be open almost the entire time we were there because even though the thermostat was set at 50F, the temperature was almost 80F in the condo. Way too hot!
Copper Mtn
Apparently Copper attracts lots of insane people plus some...not very smart people. Bad combination because they had to post this sign:
I wonder how many times this has happened?

Bead Table Wednesday: The "on the go" edition

The family and I are on our way home from a fun relaxing vacation today. While my awesome husband is driving, I am working on a kit from I have always wanted to learn the dragonscale weave, so I bought the kit, watched the video last night, and now I get to spend a portion of the drive home creating a weave I have loved from the first moment I laid eyes on it. I am using a beading mat to hold onto the rings so they don't slide around. I wish I had a small tray with me too, but the most recent issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry is a decent substitute. Spend time creating today and enjoy the process regardless of the outcome. You could even try the ring tutorial I posted yesterday. Have a great week!

Filigree Ring Tutorial

During the period following the Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal, I promised several people I would write a tutorial for the ring I made:
Bead Soup Blog Party #2
However, I didn't have any filigree left to do it. I made a trip to Hobby Lobby last week and luckily they have this exact filigree in stock. FYI~Hobby lobby frequently puts the Vintaj on sale, so don't pay full price. Also, there is almost always a 40% off one item coupon in the weekly flyer. So if you can't wait until it goes on sale, at least take the coupon with you.Please excuse the photos and my nasty jewelry making fingers. I don't have access to my photo editing software right now but wanted to get this finished.Step 1: Get a tool a couple sizes smaller than the finished ring size if you don't have a ring mandrel. For example, a marker or some other round object.
Ring Tutorial
Step 2: Gently but firmly start forming the filigree to the ring mandrel in the center. Remember, do this a couple sizes smaller than the finished desired size. The metal has "memory" and will bounce back a little. I started this at size 6, but ended up going to size 5 because I wanted it even smaller. If  making the ring too small makes you nervous, remember you can just slide the ring down the mandrel to make it bigger. Not a big deal at all.
Ring Tutorial
Step 3: Holding the center of the filagree onto the mandrel, start forming one side around the mandrel. Push the end down tight to the mandrel. This is not a race. Make sure you move somewhat slowly and deliberately so you don't get off center or bend it in a funky manner.
Ring Tutorial
Here's what one side formed to the ring mandrel looks like:
Ring Tutorial
Step 4: Once you get the one side formed to the mandrel, repeat the process on the other side. If you don't have fat fingers like me, the ends will overlap in the back of the ring.
Ring Tutorial
Here's the ring formed to the mandrel (notice it's at size 5)
Ring Tutorial
What the back of the filigree ring looks like at size 5:
Ring Tutorial
Step 5: Lightly tap all over the ring with a plastic mallet. This will do a couple things. First, it will work harden the ring and help shape it. Second, it will flatten out some areas of the filigree that want to stick out. You do not want to whack it. I hold the mandrel between my knees and twist the ring around to expose each area of the ring. If areas of the filigree still want to stick out, take your flatnose pliers and gently squeeze those areas into place.
Ring Tutorial
Notice I have shaped and hammered my ring at size 5. When I let go of the ring, it slides down to between sizes 6.5 and 7.
Ring Tutorial
Step 6: Cut a length of 20 g wire, about 10"-12" long. I used Vintaj wire to match the filigree. You can use whatever you want, but I would practice with less expensive wire (not sterling or gold filled) the first couple times you try this
Ring Tutorial
Step 7: Select the bead(s) you want to use for your ring and make sure you can fit the 20g wire doubled through the holes. Then you need to eyeball the bead and the filigree and decide the best area of the filigree to thread the wire through to attach your bead.
Ring Tutorial
Step 8: Place your flatnose pliers in the center of the wire. Make a right angle bend in the wire on both sides of the pliers.
Here's what it will look like with pliers removed:
Step 9: Thread the wires from through the top of the ring from the inside to the outside.
Ring Tutorial
Step 10: Make sure the wire sits flat against the filigree inside the ring. If it sticks out, it will poke into the wearer's finger. Ouch! You can do this by squeezing gently with flatnose pliers.
Ring Tutorial
Step 11: Cross the wire ends across the top of the ring and make sure they are flat against the filigree. Using a flatnose or needlenose pliers, make a right angle bend up so that the wires are stick straight up from the ring and meet in the center.
Ring Tutorial
Step 12: Thread your bead(s) onto the wires. Pull them out at right angles as close to the bead as possible in opposite directions
Ring Tutorial
Step 13: I wish I could have taken photos of myself doing this step, but it requires 2 hands so I will do my best to describe how to do it. Take the thumb of your dominate hand and place it in the center of your bead (over the hole where the wires are). Using your other hand, start to spiral one of the wires around the hole. When that wire meets the 2nd wire, let go of the 1st wire and start to spiral the 2nd wire. Think of it as a relay race going around a pole. Often when doing this, it takes a couple times around before the spiral really starts to take shape. Continue to spiral until you are happy with the size and shape. The wires should end up opposite each other when finished.
Ring Tutorial
Step 14: This requires some more decisions based on the size and shape of your bead. In the one I did for the Bead Soup Party, it was a roundish bead without a very flat base. In order to stabilize it, I took both wires and wrapped it around the base of the bead a few times.

Vintage Finds

My friend Jaclyn mentioned on her facebook page that she was headed to an antique/vintage show here in town. I never hear about these things until after the fact, so decided to head over there after my 12 year old son's soccer game this afternoon. Let me tell you, he was less than thrilled at the idea of watching me dig through other people's old junk. However, that child is about as good natured as an almost 13 year old can possibly be. Plus, I got him a piece of cherry pie while we were there. I was on the hunt for vintage things to use in my jewelry. I have been wanting to collect more stuff like that, but am too lazy to hunt for it. However, I did manage to find a few useful things, plus I had fun haggling over the price. Is it just me, or do people way overcharge for vintage jewelry? None of it seemed super special or anything. The one had my eyes popping out of my head because it was a gallon ziplock bag, half full of vintage jewelry. On the outside it said broken pieces and missing stones-$150. Really?!?!?! $150 for broken crap? HA! Ironically enough, later on I did buy a necklace with a couple broken flowers on it that they wanted $20. HA! I paid $5. I complained it was broken, but didn't mention I was going to take it apart to upcycle (recycle) the flowers anyway. I got a couple brooches from the same place that I am totally excited to clean up and put with some lampwork.
Vintage Finds
I also grabbed these really cool keyhole hardware bits. Again, to use in jewelry:
Vintage Finds
Last, I got these subway, bus, tax(?) tokens to use in jewelry. I love these "coins" with holes in them.
Vintage Finds
My son also managed to score a few treasures. He has a subway token collection that he added to, plus he got 4 road maps made before the interstate system was created. He loves to study maps and was fascinated at how different Indiana and Michigan's roads looked compared to how they look now. I guess the trip wasn't so bad for him after all.
Bonus tip: If you go digging at antique/vintage/garbage shows, take baby wipes. I have never really done this before and wish I had baby wipes with me for my hands. They felt so grimy and dirty when we were finished.

Bead Table Wednesday: How Funky is your Chicken?

The family and I took a little mini vacation over the weekend. They hurtled themselves down snow covered...mountains? Hills? I'm not sure if the elevation of Boyne Highlands in northern Michigan counts as a mountain or not. Whatever. They acted like darn fools. Here's what I did all. day. Saturday.
What I did over my Saturday break
taken with my cel phone, so not the best quality photo...
I did actually have to change out of pj's to go to lunch with my snow bunny family members, which was kind of a disappointment...?
I haven't done anything this fun since Saturday. Well...except to finish one of these Nurture necklaces for an order this morning.
However, the UPS man brought me this gorgeous thing that I've been waiting for over a month now:
How funky is your chicken?
Any guesses as to what it is? I'll give you a hint. It inspired today's blog title because I can't get that stupid cheer out of my head since I plucked it off the front porch. Yes, I was at one point a cheerleader until the time I got an In School Suspension for wearing a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee and refusing to call my parents to bring me a pair without the extra holes. Yes, I was a rebel. What can I say.
Give up?
How about now?
Did you guess a Chicken Feeder? Me neither. I got the idea from Mixed Metal Mania (which is currently in the pile o' books to be reviewed right next to the computer at which I am typing). Wanna know why I found it necessary to immediately order one as soon as I saw it in the book? It has to do with Bead Table Wednesday...
New Tool Organizer
By the way, if you feel you need one of these too, this link will take you to several size options. Be warned, it took them a month to ship this thing to me. I was beginning to lose hope it would ever get here. However, it arrived just in time for the new BTW installment.

Bead Soup Blog Party Wrap-Up, A Walk Down Memory Lane, and Why I Finally Believe Running Won't Kill Me

My butt has grown roots into the chair. Weird, I know. It's from visiting and commenting on the 209 other blogs participating the Bead Soup Blog Party. I am blown away by the talent out there in blog land. Many blogs I have never visited before. You haven't seen my bead soup piece yet? Click on over now and come back.If you haven't heard, there's already a date set for the next Bead Soup Blog Party. My recommendation if you want to play along? Read this page of information on Lori Anderson's blog. The next step is important...after reading it, follow the directions. Become a fan on facebook. Join the flickr group. Join the Yahoo group. By joining these groups, you will be less likely to miss out. Plus, the Yahoo group does bead swaps and other challenges sometimes.
I thought it might be kind of fun to revisit my bead soup piece from the 2nd Bead Soup Blog Party summer 2010. Lori Anderson was my partner. Here's what she sent:
Bead Soup Blog Party
Matching earrings:
Warning, complete change of topic...Remember how I posted an abridged list of my goals and resolutions? No? That last link will take you there if you're curious. However, one of the things on that list is training for a half marathon. The particular one we're running is in about 8 weeks. Eek!
January 23, 2011
Since the beginning of January, I have logged exactly 70.89 miles (that's 114 km for my non-American friends) on the treadmill. I have not run since I was on the cross country team my freshman year of high school about 22 years ago. On day 1, I started with running a 1/2 mile. My longest run so far is 7.5 miles. I'm beginning to actually believe I can do this thing and not die. 

Bead Table Wednesday the UFO edition

It's UFO week! No aliens seen around here, but lots of UnFinished Ornamentation. I supposed I could put a positive spin on it and say WIP for Works In Progress, but let's call it what it really is. Many of these have been WIP for over a year. Pathetic. I blame it on being neurotic. Why am I dealing with it this week? Because I did a mega clean-up of my bead table that took me forEVER (meaning about 3 weeks of working on it off and on). I came across a ridiculous number of projects and decided to tackle a few a week until they are finished. UFO #1: This necklace has an actual theme based on the Greek goddess Athena-the goddess of wisdom. See that gorgeous Lisa Peters Art Pendant?
03 02 11 Bead Table Wednesday UFO edition
I even handstamped a copper washer and did a cool patina using amonia and salt, and added a few pieces of my precious Roman glass stash. Here's a wider angle of what is completed so far:
03 02 11 Bead Table Wednesday UFO edition
Why isn't it finished? The main reason is due to a certain neurotic tendency I have about the fact my business name is GLASS Addictions and when I first started it my focus was on GLASS created by ME. While I would like to create pieces on occasion that aren't sporting my lampwork, it feels WRONG. This was confirmed at a show I did where I  had a display of stamped brass tags to use as charms, add-ons, whatever you want to call them. A woman came up, looked at them, saw my business name on the cards, and says "what do these have to do with glass?" Argh! Not helping! What do you think? Is my concern legititmate? Or am I truly neurotic? Or both? What if you had a business called Ann's Metal Cuffs and then you decided you wanted to make fiber necklaces? What would you do? I've gone so far as to consider changing my business name so it wouldn't be an issue any more. But what a HASSLE. UFO #2: this isn't finished because I tested some alchohol inks on a filigree, set it aside to see what would happen. Then I decided this bead would look cool with it.
03 02 11 Bead Table Wednesday UFO edition
UFO #3: knitted bracelet with peridot chips. It needs a clasp. Also, it doesn't contain any of my glass art beads. Again, no glass=big issue inside my brain.
03 02 11 Bead Table Wednesday UFO edition
UFO #4: I think I made these PMC charms about 2, maybe even 3 years ago. I love them. I'm pretty sure I know what I want to do with them. But there they sit.
03 02 11 Bead Table Wednesday UFO edition
View from my bead table tonight:
03 02 11

Random Sunday

Wanting to see my Bead Soup Post? Scroll down one post or click here.I've had about 20 blog posts written inside my head and photos to share since late January, but have put them off because sometimes being at the computer for more than a few minutes at a time makes me insane. Plus I've got tons of stuff to do. Unfortunately, I feel guilty about it like I'm ignoring a friend on purpose because I can't face up to what I've done. Anyway, that ends today. Here are a few highlights from the last month pretty much newest to oldest:-spent all last week sick and trying to hack out a lung. Missed out on going to meet Jeff Foster (my favorite current Pacers player since Reggie Miller retired) and Fuzzy Zoeller at a small March of Dimes event. Bummer. -Fuzzy really liked my husband and kissed him twice on the cheek and gave him a bottle, signed by Fuzzy, of his vodka. -we will probably give that bottle to be auctioned off for the March of Dimes chef's event here in Ft Wayne in October. So if you've always wanted a signed bottle of Fuz's vodka....-last Friday we attended a Winter Wonderland Gala to raise money for my son's school. -I freaked out at the last minute about what to wear. -I bought this style dress:
In this color:
Color example
-I wore super cute silver mesh shoes with a beaded flower on the toe that I cannot find a picture of and am too lazy to take one. ?
-One hour before we had to be at the gala. I made this:
Winter Wonderland Gala
Here's what it looks like while wearing an old grubby t-shirt:
Winter Wonderland Gala
-Here's what I donated to the silent auction:
Winter Wonderland Gala Donation
-and this challenge piece I made and my neighbor won at the auction (YAY LISA!):
Challenge bracelet
?-and something similar to this:
-I listed a new bead on etsy (shocking!) Most everything I've made lately has a home or a plan, so listings are few and far between:
Beads for a Special Project
-They became this:
Mixed Media Home is Where Creativity Takes Flight
Mixed Media Home is Where Creativity Takes Flight
-And is now hanging at the Arts United Center as part of the Community Mosaic. Theme is "Home of the Arts".
-The theme for my mixed media painting (3'x3') is "Home is Where Creativity Takes Flight" It pretty much looks like a 3 year old made it.
Mixed Media Home is Where Creativity Takes Flight
-The brass tags (that you can barely see...) say "Focus" because that's my one word or special word or whatever it's supposed to be called, for 2011.
-I still  haven't figured out totally what to do with that special word. I guess I just felt left out that everyone had a special word for the year and I didn't.
-which reminds me...WHY do we do goals/resolutions January 1st? That's the worst time of the year to make goals because by February 1st when the gray and cold of  winter have seeped into my bones and grasped my soul with their icy claws, the last thing I want to do is be productive or follow through on goals.
-Unless that goal is crawling into toasty bed and hibernating.
-The first day of the year should be June 1st. Well...unless you live in the southern hemisphere...but still! I've decided from now on, June 1st is New Year's Day and will plan accordingly. a little off topic there. Back on track now.
-My kids did paintings too. Daughter's is titled "There's no place like Home". The lighting at the Arts United Center at night is very bad. I could show a better picture of it at our house, but that's not as much fun as seeing it hanging with the other paintings:
 There's No Place Like Home
-Some people ignored the theme of the mosaic. My kid and his neighbor friend were among those "rule breakers". Here I present..."Untitled":
-Here's a shot from the end which shows all 3 of our paintings at the same time and also looks kind of cool:
United Arts Center 2011 Community Mosaic
-I keep having dreams Lance Mackey likes to hang out with our family, have cookouts and go to the movies. Weird, right? Especially because it's not that easy to get to the middle of nowhere Alaska to middle of nowhere Indiana...Oh, WAIT! We have Ft. Wayne International airport. That changes things right there...
-There's other stuff too, but I don't have photos to go along with it. That isn't as much fun.
-Come back tomorrow for the promised book review from almost 2 weeks ago. ?I have good excuses as to why it didn't get done. Mostly it involves...oh, never mind.
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