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.

Bead Soup's On!

 Welcome to the 3rd Bead Soup Blog Party!
What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?
 Each beader was paired up with another jewelry designer and tasked with sending the following:
~ A focal~ A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)~ Some coordinating spacers or beads
Using the focal and the clasp was mandatory, but we could use anything from our own stash to round out the rest, and choose to use the coordinating beads or not.
And now for the reveal!I made THREE pieces this time. That's right. Three. Once I got started, I just couldn't stop. Let me back up for a second. Before I started assembling, I made some lampwork beads in a random hand shaped "nugget" shape to coordinate with the gorgeous focal Jeanette sent me. Also, because brass was the metal she used for the focal, the clasp, and all metal findings, I decided to use goldstone powder in my beads to add a little sparkle that coordinates with brass.
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
To be honest, if I were making this necklace just for me, using this particular focal, I probably would have kept it to a simple chain with the pendant and an accent lampwork bead because that's how I prefer to wear jewelry. However, this is bead soup people!
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
I wore this around all yesterday afternoon and kept refining the design a bit because things wanted to flip around. It no longer does that and it's super comfortable to wear. I love it.
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
The brass wire Jeanette sent was shiny brass in all its brassy glory. I didn't want that. I put the entire coil in a bowl with ammonia and salt in the bottom of it to patina it. But it turned black way more quickly if I just dipped the entire coil in the ammonia solution :o) After making the bead components out of wire and hammering them, I used steel wool to highlight the spiral shapes.
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
Bead Soup Blog Party #1
Jeanette also sent me 2 filigree pieces. I used one of them to create a matching ring for the necklace. The profile is super high, but it is so much fun to wear! I will be wearing this to see how well it holds up to the everyday torture my hands endure. If it holds up well, I might just be buying more of these filigree and making more.
Bead Soup Blog Party #2
Bead Soup Blog Party #2
Bead Soup Blog Party #2
Bead Soup Blog Party #2
My daughter and I were watching Sleepless in Seattle while I was putting finishing touches on the first two pieces. There was still about 45 minutes left, so I decided to take the 2nd filigree and make it into a bale for a fun pendant.
Bead Soup Blog Party #3
Pendant ingredients: lampwork bead (again, a hand shaped nugget but not created for this project), Vintaj Arte Metal pendant (steel wooled to highlight the design), tiny brass bell, brass clock arm, 2 tiny hilltribe silver beads, headpin, a couple jumprings. I really love the new Arte Metal line! I got this particular pendant at Hobby Lobby(!) and I think it might be my absolute favorite design they make. It reminds me of the Japanese tsunami woodblock.
Bead Soup Blog Party #3
I added the pendant to a hand dyed silk ribbon (I think it's a Jamn Glass ribbon) to be tied to the length desired. Thanks for taking a peek at what I made. I really had so much fun with this. I would love to hear feedback on any or all of these pieces and will try to respond individually to each comment.
The Party is far from over. Come see what the rest of us made!  
1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Bead Table Wednesday

While this photo was not actually taken on my bead table (which is not currently usable because I asked hubby to hang something on the wall for me, he didn't have the correct hardware and he dumped the tools on my newly cleaned bead table...), it is of beads as part of a work in progress for tomorrow's book review. And, it's on a table. Bead Table Wednesday 2.16.11

Bead Table Wednesday (Thursday) Bead Soup Blog Party Edition

Nope. Haven't fallen off the face of the Earth yet. I could make excuses for the lack of posts, but I won't. Really? The biggest reason I haven't blogged in spite of having a ton of topics to write about (lots going on!) is that I didn't feel like it. When I would go to blogger and see the login page, it just seemed like too much effort to login. If that's the case, it's probably better I not try to blog because it's hard telling what I might type. It could get very naughty.
Anyway, last week was the awesomest mail week. One of the packages that came was the bead soup from my partner Jeanette. I documented every step of opening the package (except the box it was shipped in). Enjoy!
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
2011 bead soup blog party
I will share the rest of the week's bounty tomorrow.

Lorelei's FusionBeads Challenge

Challenge bracelet
Lorelei puts on a great challenge and blog hop. This time she selected beads from Fusion Beads so international folks could play along. I had this almost completed last night, but bead wire and I do NOT get along and I couldn't figure out how to get the (bleeped out) clasp on the (bleeped out) bracelet so it would work with  my design. I figured it out while I was eating lunch and as soon as my nephew was down for this nap, I took it all apart and started over. It turned out almost exactly how I envisioned. Yay! I still hate beading wire. And crimps. They pretty much make my right eye twitch uncontrollably and I always get an overwhelming desire to pull all my hair out when working with them. I have yet to use an entire spool of beading wire since starting to make jewelry about 5 years ago. Back on topic...I've  never ordered from Fusion Beads before. The prices of the selected beads were very reasonable and they shipped it out quickly. Unfortunately from there to here took a while. When I got my order and there was a teeny problem with it, I called and they shipped out the missing piece the same day, apologized while I was speaking to someone at the company and again in an email after it shipped out. I will definitely order from them again.For my design I made a bracelet. I was rather stubborn about it-insisting on using my lampwork disc bead and the owl toggle so both were the focal. I used the droopy seed beads (not sure of the name) and the very blingy crystals and the small round wood beads from the challenge as well. Other than my lampwork bead, the only extra I added to the challenge beads are those silver toned rings from the Industrial Chic line at Michaels.
Challenge bracelet
Challenge bracelet
Challenge braceletTo see other challenge pieces:

A Cup of Passion

For the last couple weeks, I've been delivering a hot cup of Passion to my husband first thing in the morning before he even wakes up...a cup of caffeine free Passion herbal tea. I even deliver it in one of the mugs we purchased at Edgecomb Potters during our first real vacation as a couple to Camden, Maine in 1994, the year after we got married.
January 7, 2011
Since the heart surgery, he cannot even take sips of caffeinated beverages without being his heart is trying to escape his chest or something. For several years, our morning routine has included me waking him up with the first cup of coffee and watching the talking heads CNBC together.
Now I bring him caffeine free Passion tea to bed every morning. The act of serving him that first cup of coffee/tea is something very simple that should barely even register a blip during the day, but means more to him than the entire house or doing his laundry. It brings him great joy to know I care enough about him to wake him up with his cup of coffee or tea and sometimes even breakfast. How do I know this? He tells me pretty much every single day how much he appreciates it. A marriage that infuses several teeny tiny acts of kindness and thoughtfulness into every single day rather than just on special occasions is a much happier marriage.

I'm Not an Expert or Anything...

however, I want to take a moment to chat about photography (and I do mean a moment because what I know about photography can be explained in just a few seconds). I am a wannabe photographer. I'm not sure what that means exactly....I don't actually want to provide a photography service or take photos to sell. I DO want to take great photos to sell my beads and jewelry. Or to share stories. Or document our daily lives. It's a hobby and it's a very important part of running an online business. And while I LOVE taking snapshots for fun, the business side of things makes me want to pull my hair out while running down the street naked and screaming. Well...maybe not the naked part. It's cold outside and I don't want to go to jail for causing people to go blind. But the pulling hair, screaming and running part is totally true. OK, maybe not the running part either because I pretty much hate running....anyway, you get the idea. It just so happens I wasn't going to chat about photography today until I uploaded this January 6, 2011 photo of the day to my handy dandy photo editing software last  night (Photoshop Elements is my poison of choice and only because it's the only one I "sort of" know how to use). Big Fluffly Flakes Unedited VersionWe had giant fluffy flakes falling softly to the ground and the pop of the red berries on our Hawthorne tree was so pretty. I love that tree...the shape, the berries, the leaves, and I take pictures of it frequently. Anyway, I uploaded it to my editing software to decrease the size and started playing with shadows/highlights, brightness/contrast. That's it. Just those two controls. It became this and I almost gasped out loud:January 6, 2011 Big Fluffy Flakes and Hawthorne treeThe picture was pretty before with a nice soft misty look to it. But this one just pops and looks alive and you can see the energy of the flakes and the berries. It makes me want to live there. Oh, wait...I do live there. The point to all this? Don't be afraid to play with your photo software. I was for a long time. Sometimes I still am. It's like trying to understand a foreign language that might gobble your photos if you can't translate it in time. HOWEVER, if you are selling online, you do not want to "edit" the photos so much you completely misrepresent your handmade creations. You will have angry customers and that is never a good thing. It's important to keep an objective eye on your creation and on your computer screen. I always have the particular bead or jewelry piece I am editing photos for sitting right here in front of me so I can compare color, etc. I still struggle with photography every single day I take pictures-whether it's jewelry, glass (talk about a real pain in the boo-taataa to get right!), people, pets or nature. I will probably always be striving to take better photos because ultimately, I want to spend as little time editing or even retaking photos as possible.Here are my personal photography quick tips (remember, I am not an expert and you try these at your own risk):-browse other online shops and look closely at the photos that draw you in. Then ask yourself why they grab your attention. Really pay attention because I think looking at other people's photos was the #1 thing that helped me.-read your camera manual. Seriously. Then play with the settings. (actually this may tie for #1 tip...)-Someone once asked me (ME!) to teach them how to get good photos. I told them to take 100 of the same picture often trying several different settings. One of them is bound to turn out. The odds are stacked in your favor, right? The good news is that piece of jewelry isn't going to get fidgety or get up and walk out of the room. (ok, this one might be a slight exagerration, but it sure feels like 100 some days).-Invest in a card with lots of memory (see above tip).-Get in as close as you can. People want to see details so well that it's almost like they are  holding it their hands.-Try different angles. Straight-on is utilitarian. And boring. However, I try to have at least one straight on shot for purposes of seeing the pieces.-Natural light when possible.-No busy backgrounds. Props are ok as long as they don't steal the spotlight.-If you're photographing jewelry, don't forget to show the clasp!-When editing, crop as close as you possibly can even though you've already zoomed in with the camera. -play with your editing software and get to know it on an intimate basis.-DON'T over-edit your photos. That's about it. Now go forth and take great photos or at least good photos that can be edited into great photos.
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