16 December 2013

Tassel It Winner!

Please email me your address and I will send this purse fob out this week to you ready for gifting to someone 
...or to keep for yourself! 

Ho! Ho! Ho!

(Does that look like a Santa to you?)

14 December 2013

3rd Annual Holiday Ornament Swap

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!”
~Dave Barry
Since you know I love to decorate the tree for Christmas (see my previous post!), it should come as no surprise that I would participate in a holiday ornament swap! My lovely friend, Miss Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime organizes the swap and pairs each participant with another designer. This year I had the good fortune to be paired with my friend from Down Under, Miss Melissa Trudinger of BeadRecipes!

 She sent me a funny card - Christmas in the Sun - with hilarious little cartoon images like Santa in swimming trunks and floaties, a decorated palm tree and sand 'snow' man! Also these little candy treats: Malteasers (tasted like malted milk balls) and Cherry Ripe, a sort of chewy cherry and chocolate sensation. The kids were eager to try them!

Miss Melissa actually sent me TWO ornaments! The first is a sweet little homemade cinnamon stick tree! I love the red lashing and the star at the top! 

The second is a very cool garland design. Strung on evergreen sari silk, it features some pretty lampwork glass beads from Bellissimo Jewels and polymer clay stamped disks that Melissa made! 

She very cleverly designed it with large jump rings on each end that allow it to be secured to a branch for draping. Here is how it looks on my tree!

To see what I made Miss Melissa, please go and check out her blog!

Thank you Miss Melissa for the wonderful presents! And thanks to Miss Sally for organizing this fun swap again. Here are the participants for the swap/hop.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New year to all!

List of Holiday Ornament Swappers

12 December 2013

Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. 
 ~ Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

Ahahaha! I love Christmas Vacation!

Thank you for joining me for the 4th Annual Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop!

[I apologize for the pictures... my camera lens has been broken since early October and my phone has stopped allowing me to snap pictures, so scans it is! Picture if you will a beautiful sparkling white light tree branch...]

First up, a nod to one of the best scenes in the Christmas Vacation movie, a SQUIRREL!
This pretty porcelain image is from White Swan Illuminations. And what would a squirrel be without a NUT? I made this one from a huge acorn bead cap (I really should get better about reading dimensions in listings...) and a really cool brown and copper leaf peeled paint bead from Jeannie Dukic. It is the only bead in my studio that can fit that cap! Little peanut beads and a sari silk ribbon scrap complete the ornament.

Did you know that squirrel was my now 15 1/2 year old son's first word?
And you will have to ask me sometime about the Great Squirrel Quest of 1974.
My dad battled a family of squirrels getting it on in the attic above his bedroom that rivals anything that Chevy Chase has done!

Next is a pretty little bauble that I whipped up by accident. 
Classify this as things-that-were-just-lying-near-each-other inspiration! 

I used a cool swirly glass headpin from Genea Beads. To that I added a polymer clay blackbird from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. On top I added a faceted golden crystal moon. I used some tiny faceted crystal rondelles to the outer edge but miscalculated the amount of wire I needed. I wanted it to go all the way around. Happy accident that I just eyeballed it. I quite like the assymetry. And then I ran out of steam to finish the top so I used a little bit of silk cord from Marsha Neal Studios. However, now that I look at this, I think I will make a little beaded swirl hook using the same crystals to carry the curve. Picture it in your mind....

And finally, I thought I should use one of my own Simple Truths for an ornament. I actually made a whole lot more ornaments this year for sale at the Gallery Q (see two below), along with some great beaded ornaments with art bead toppers a la Heather Powers' tutorial from last year which I don't have pictures of. I guess I didn't get around to listing them in my shop. Sorry about that! Message me if you think this this something you are interested in. If there are any left after the holidays, maybe I will have a flash sale. ;-)

{Jewel of Bleak Winter and Flor de la Bueno Noche ornaments with swirly beaded hooks (not shown) $25}

 I do these limited edition quarterly birds in my Simple Truths style.
For Winter 2013, I introduce the Snowflake Bird.

Again, I got a little lazy with the top and just used some silk cord from Marsha Neal, and I might leave that since it matches the silver tone of the snowflake so well.

I have these cool little branches in my stash and I wired one to the bottom so that it looks as though the birdie is perched there. There are little holes in the branch, so I added a little leaf shape from some fold formed copper that I made at my class with Stacie Florer at ArtBliss in September. I stamped it with the year and decided that a tiny gray crystal was needed for a little flash. 

My husband and I have a tradition where we gift each other an ornament every year and don't buy gifts. 21 years. This will be my special gift to him {he doesn't read my blog - I'm not even sure he knows what a blog is - so I am sure he won't see this!} ;-)

Thanks for hopping along with me. There are plenty of talented people taking part in this blog hop. So grab a cup of hot cocoa, a candy cane, put on some festive tunes and have fun seeing all the ways we add a little sparkle to December!

11 December 2013

Tassel-It with Dazzle-It

When Miss Carmi comes calling, I always answer!

This girl is very creative and full of ideas and so sweet to boot! She works with John Bead and Envirotex to promote and introduce new products. Miss Carmi contacted me about a new product that is coming out from John Bead and the Dazzle-It line that are tassels. I understand that tassels and fringe will be big in 2014 fashion, so I was willing to give it a shot.

I received a full package of tassels in many different colors, along with some coordinating lengths of faux suede and some clasps. For now, I stuck with the tassels themselves.

The first thing I made was a Christmas ornament. I admit it. I cheated a little. I had made the decorated bezel (from Nunn Design) last year as part of my time in the Nunn Design Innovation Team. To make the bezel I filled it with a two-part jewelry clay, like this set from Envirotex, embedded chatons and rubbed fine glitter into it. I had a completely different handmade tassel on the bottom that I really didn't care for because, well, it looked like a deranged jellyfish with tentacles waving. These tassels are so much nicer! I like that it looks very polished and professional and consistent. But the white was just a bit too stark. Part of getting products like this to play with is that I feel I should try to innovate with them whenever I can. So I turned to my overflowing art supplies.

Frosted ornament

I decided to see what would happen if I used alcohol inks on the white tassel. That soaked up quickly! But this didn't give me the ombre effect that I wanted. So I went back and painted two different ink colors on each strand at the bottoms, leaving the top white. For a little added bling, I painted some strands with white glue and sprinkled dusting of fine glitter on them.

The Tickler ring

The totally oddball piece that I created was a ring. I snipped the loop on the top off and then mixed up some jewelry clay to attach it to an adjustable ring base. I added little sparkly AB Swarovski chatons and let it dry overnight. I like zany jewelry, but the tassel was really a tad bit too high to make it wearable. But my officemate Laura gave me the idea of trimming the tops, even handing me her scissors to do it! We decided that this would be double duty as a cocktail ring and could also be used as a little duster for your keyboard. Maybe there is a new market to be explored... office bling! ;-)

Honor What is in your Heart purse fob

While I was modifying the first two, I decided that I would try to keep it simple (I know! That is hard for me to do!) and just see about adding it directly to a project. They are really fun to add a little bit of color, texture and movement, and with the loop at the top and the metal color, they can match just about anything. Now I am looking for things to add tassels to! So I just added the tassel to the bottom of a new Simple Truths piece that I was working on that says 'honor what is in your heart'. On my table nearby was an embossed and painted wing, a rhinestone flower and a little crystal teardrop. I just gathered them all up and added a large lobster claw clasp at the top. I meant this to be a purse fob (although it could work as a key chain as well). This would make a wonderful present for someone special for Christmas, don't you think?

I am feel very generous today, so I think that I will give away the purse fob pictured above to one lucky commenter on this post. Winner will be selected at random from all comments with an email for contacting and will be mailed out in time for Christmas gifting! Winner will be announced on Monday, December 16th.

Thank you Miss Carmi, for the chance to play with these new products! Be sure to hop over to the Dazzle-It blog for a list of all the participants in this hop.


For more information about Dazzle-it products visit www.dazzle-it.com or their blog http://blog.dazzle-it.com. They are on Facebook, too, with regular give-a-ways: www.facebook.com/Dazzleit.

[Disclosure: I received the Dazzle-It products mentioned in this post for free from John Bead in consideration for review.]

02 December 2013

4th Annual Challenge of Color :: ColourLovers

Please click the link if you are looking for the Typhoon Relief Auction.
The auction will be open until 12/5.
Current high bids: #1 = $30; #2 = $55; #3 = $55; #4 = $95
Thank you!

Welcome to the 4th Annual Challenge of Color!

This year I suggested that we get our palettes from the ColourLovers.com website. The people who are part of that community do a great job of making really interesting palettes and also naming the colors and their corresponding palettes very intriguingly! One of the things that hooked me on the site, was the ability to make my own palettes using the names of the colors as the guide in a community game called WordLinks. You can read more about the game and how to play on my original blog post.

I will admit that even though this is my Challenge, it can be a real challenge to me, too! My biggest nemesis is time. So on Sunday night at about 7:30 I was actually able to sit down and build a palette and create something. I had hoped to do more than this, but time just didn't seem to slow down, even though my computer made it seem like time had stood still. I have issues with this old beast in that I can move from one page or window to another, but it takes like 20 minutes to refresh. And of course, I had the ubiquitous camera issues since I dropped my camera a few months ago. So please bear with me!

I decided to give myself the twist - the Word Link palette.
I had a beautiful ceramic pendant from Marsha Neal Studios on my table so I knew that I wanted to start with a nice deep red, so I chose Red Red Wine. What followed next is exactly plucked from the rabbit hole of the color palette generator!


Red Red Wine led to Wine Stained which brought me to Stained Green.

I had this lovely beaded component from Kristen Stevens. I love her little beaded gems! The deep garnet and soft touch of matte green would make a beautiful focal!

And I also happened to have this half strand of mossy green jasper, not sure what it is called. Perfect for the Stained Green color!

The next one was the wildcard. The greatest thing with the Word Links challenge is making a circular link where the first word of the first color matches the last word of the last color. So I knew that I needed to end on Red.

Typing in Green Gem gave me a lot to choose from with that color name. Everything from bright lime to deep forest. But my eye was drawn to the more mellow teal color. This is a surprising twist in this palette. But I like it! I chose to use a beautiful rough cut emerald stone to represent the Green Gem, since that is a true green gem. Yes, these are real emeralds! Not heat treated or highly polished, but a rich and saturated deep blue-green. I got them at Soft Flex who happens to be having a 70% off sale on their beads and gemstones.

And that led me back to Red. Gems Red!

For a little motion, I added these little rizo beads that look like funky little colored bits of rice. They have a hole at the top and are coated with an AB finish on one side, giving them a unique color and flash.I like to think not only of color, but texture when I am designing. This broke up the field of color and shape and played with the light.

I call my necklace Wine-Stained Gems in reference to the palette.


Here are the Word Link colors with their Hex numbers:

Red Red Wine 6E0000
Wine-Stained 351A22
Stained Green 506C05
Green Gem 0C6457
Gems Red 4 691A30

You will notice that the colors in this palette are all in a more muted shade. None of them are outside of the same saturation level as the others. I think that is why it works, but I am no color guru! Speaking of color gurus...if you haven't already checked out Brandi's blog she is the one to watch. Her posts on color theory are awesome and her book, Understanding Color,  is a great reference. She just relaunched her Color Palette Club as a reference tool that will be fantastic for designers!

And just for fun, I created this pattern using their online tools.

I really wanted to make a few more things based off a few more palettes, and I think I will, because I had a lot of fun making the palettes themselves. A good tool to remember when I find myself stuck in a drab color rut!

If you were able to carve out some time to play along with me, please feel free to add your blog to the InLinkz code below. If the holidays took over and you find yourself with more ideas than time, no worries! The number one rule is this is supposed to be FUN! If you are not having fun, you aren't doing it right! ;-)

29 November 2013

Typhoon Relief Auction :: Be the One Drop

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
~ Mother Teresa


On November 8, 2013 the perfect storm arrived. And by perfect, I mean perfectly dreadful.

Typhoon Haiyan is one of the worst storms in recorded history and nearly annihilated the island nation of the Philippines. The appalling destruction and loss of life is completely devastating. Cities have been gutted. Buildings have been leveled. Thousands are dead. Millions of survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives - literally - when they are rapidly running out of clean water, nourishing food and other essentials that you and I take for granted every day.

Jocelyn, and her children in what is left of her home. Read her story at CARE.org.
Up to 10,000 people are feared dead. More than 3 million people are without their homes. Many are sleeping in the open air or in the rubble of what was left. And 9.8 million people are suffering in the aftermath of the storm. They lack shelter, water, food. But they also want for security and peace of mind.

I cannot even begin to imagine the horror as I sit in my own home, safe and sound, feasting on the turkey of the day. But my friend Andrew Thornton can imagine it. You see, Andrew is personally touched by this tragedy. He has family and friends that are living in those areas affected most by this devastation. They have lost their homes, their belongings, their livelihoods. I can't even begin to imagine the horrors of waking up each day in the rubble of all you have known and trying to maintain some sense of normalcy while just trying to survive at the most basic level.

So Andrew rounded up some of his friends and asked us if we would be willing to participate in a day of auctions with proceeds to benefit the Typhoon victims half a world away in the Philippines. I enthusiastically said yes.

It is hard to imagine what they are going through, but it is even harder to imagine that I wouldn't do something to help. I may be only one, and I can't send in a lot, but I will do what I can, with what I have. I will be the One Drop. I hope you will join me in doing the same.

Andrew has requested that all the monies collected will be donated to CARE.org. CARE is delivering food, water, shelter and other essentials to survivors of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. A gift of just $13 buys rations of food and necessities for someone who needs it.

Additionally, Andrew is hosting a raffle with wonderful prizes contributed by art bead artists (like me!), jewelry artists and fine artists alike. You can see some of the prizes up for grabs and you can buy your raffle tickets for just $1.

This original plein air painting by Sheila Thornton was painted in the Philippines. It is part of the raffle.

For this auction, I have selected a few jewelry pieces that are near and dear to my heart, as well as offering a 6-month subscription to my Simple Truths Sampler Club (retail value: $102 + shipping).

Here are the details, please read carefully:
  • The minimum starting bid on each of them is $15 and bids should increase in whole dollar amounts. 
  • To bid on an item, leave a comment with the item number and your bid. And check back to see if you need to increase your bid! A good way to get some of your Christmas shopping done AND help out those who need it.
  • The auction will run from today, Friday, November 29th through Thursday, December 5th. 
  • Winner will be notified by EMAIL so please, make sure that there is a way to contact you (hint: turn on your email in your profile!) 
  • If the winning bid for any of these items is over $50 I will ship it for free anywhere in the world (if less, I will add the shipping fees to your PayPal invoice). I will even gift wrap it for you!
Ready? Set? Okay... let the bidding begin!
#1 The Wisdom of Last Minutes
Created for Lorelei's Michaels Challenge 2013
Retail value: $64
Minimum bid: $15

#2 One Tiny Pebble
Created for the Challenge of Color 2011
Retail value: $75

Minimum bid: $15

#3 Harlequin Romance bracelet
Featured in Stringing Summer 2012
Retail value: $52
Minimum bid: $15

#4 Simple Truths Sampler Club - 6 months
December 2013 - May 2014
Retail Value: $102 (+shipping)
Now... Who wants to be the One Drop?

Thank you for your support of this very worthy cause!
Please go to www.CARE.org to find out how you can help.

Here's a list of participating artists:

26 November 2013

Tomorrow River Winding

The River

The River's a wanderer,
A nomad, a tramp.
He doesn't choose one place
To set up his camp.

The River's a winder,
Through valley and hill.
He twists and he turns,
He just cannot be still.

The River's a hoarder,
And he buries down deep
Those little treasures 
That he wants to keep.

The River's a baby,
He gurgles and hums,
And sounds like he's happily
Sucking his thumbs.

The River's a singer,
As he dances along.
The countryside echoes
The notes of his song.

The River's a monster,
Hungry and vexed.
He's gobbled up trees
And he'll swallow you next.

I made a necklace and earring set for a very, very patient client name Jen who lives in the Tomorrow River area a short drive from me. When we met earlier this year, she described what she wanted by showing me a Pinterest board that she created (how clever is that?!). She started with pictures of my work, but that led her to other artists that she admired who were linked on my pages. 

One such artist that she really gravitated to was StaciLouise Smith

 I told her that I would be happy to set her up with Miss Staci to create something, but she also loves my work, and would not hear of it. That is sweet. Seeing as I love Miss Staci's rustic look and her soulful energy, it only seemed fitting that I would use some of her pieces in the necklace. 

I purchased that large spiky donut from Miss Staci and it also came with a cream urchin nugget and a piece of soft green sea glass. To that I added a faceted polymer nugget from Barbara Bechtel, a rustic ceramic cog from Diana Ptazynski, some polymer clay disks from Heather Powers and a shimmering ceramic holly leaf from Bo Hulley Beads. Throw in a button, an ancient Chinese coin, a pewter ammonite, a hand patina-ed swirl shell bead, some pearls and a mother of pearl stick, a wood bead and some various brass and pewter beads just for fun.

The client asked for this to be long and loose, but also be able to be doubled, as you see here. I went with alternating strands of teal, sage and charcoal waxed linen hand tied that can be doubled over like a lariat or even wrapped twice. 

What do you think? 

If you would like to see the earrings that go along with this necklace, it is my day so I chose to share them over on

21 November 2013

Owl Lover

 The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.
The Barred Owl
~Richard Wilbur~ 

Obviously, I love owls.

I recently bought a print from Gretchen Powers of The Blooming Hare (who happens to be the sister of my best friend Heather Powers) after seeing the greatest owl wearing a sweater with mice emblazoned on it at the Inspired by Nature retreat.

Here is the original piece of art that the print is based on...

{Isn't that the most adorable thing?}

 I don't have the kind of money for buying original works of art, but I do have room in my budget for affordable prints. Check them out!

I enjoy making sweet owls every day for friends, old and new. Each one is different from the last. No two owls are alike. I like it that way. Making each one unique is like creating a new hoot-y friend. And then sending them off to fly to their new home to roost is even better.

{Great Grey Owl  - The Phantom of the North}

I stumbled on this blog that is dedicated to all things owl-y: My Owl Barn.

Shivani has a curated post just about every day with the sweetest collection of owls, from crafts to decorations, jewelry to stationery. From there I found her annual Owl Lover calendar.

{Woodsy Owl - the origina that started it alll!}
Every year Shivani brings out the best and brightest in illustration to contribute owl prints for the calendar.  (Including that print from Gretchen Powers, above). And in the most clever way imaginable, too! You can select the images that you want to go with each month, or select a pre-made version. But how fun is it to pick your own!?

And did I mention that it is FREE?

My niece is all about owls (it is her grade school mascot), so I am always on the hunt for something new for her. She always squeals with delight and wonders at how I knew that this was her favorite! ;-) So this year I selected the sweetest, most girly owl images from those available and printed up her very own Owl Lover calendar for 2014. And you can do the same!

{Snowy Owl - whoooo!}

I also decided that I would test the waters with advertising on the My Owl Barn site as a sponsor of the 2014 Owl Lover calendar project. Trying to reach out to those that love owls with the first animated .gif that I ever made!

 I do believe that every owl has a personality, and each owner of one of my owls has a distinct owl they are most like... the stately Great Grey Owl... the simple Woodsy Owl... the soft Snowy Owl... even the foolish Motley Owls. So tell me... Whooo are you?

Please feel free to grab this code and head on over to my new webstore at www.Tesoritrovati.com to get yours! (Offer good for 10% off your order of $25+)

Please go and check out the 2014 Owl Lover calendar maker (did I mention it was FREE?!) and see all the beautiful artistic representations of our favorite feathered friends!

20 November 2013

Winter Snowflake Bird

"If I were a barefooted snow-bird, I know
I would not stay out in the cold and the snow.--
I wonder what makes him so full of his glee;
Chick-a-de-de, Chick-a-de-de,
And merrily singing his chick-a-de-de. - See more at: http://www.tesoritrovati.com/product/winter-snowflake-bird-limited-edition?tid=32#sthash.PPSmYv4m.dpuf
 If I were a barefooted snow-bird, I know
I would not stay out in the cold and the snow.
I wonder what makes him so full of his glee;
Chick-a-de-de, Chick-a-de-de,
And merrily singing his chick-a-de-de.

exerpt from
Song of the Snow-Bird
~ T.S. Arthur, 1809-1885 ~

Song of the Snow-Bird, exerpt
by T. S. Arthur, 1809-1885
- See more at: http://www.tesoritrovati.com/product/winter-snowflake-bird-limited-edition?tid=32#sthash.PPSmYv4m.dpuf
"If I were a barefooted snow-bird, I know
I would not stay out in the cold and the snow.--
I wonder what makes him so full of his glee;
Chick-a-de-de, Chick-a-de-de,
And merrily singing his chick-a-de-de. - See more at: http://www.tesoritrovati.com/product/winter-snowflake-bird-limited-edition?tid=32#sthash.PPSmYv4m.dpuf
Every year I make new ornaments for family and friends. The last few years have been ornaments with my Simple Truths line. Last year, I made four different holiday botanical birds along with three different snowmen, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and tiny snowflakes. Whew! Just typing that, makes me tired!

This year I focused on poinsettias, cardinals and one lone holiday bird.

My limited edition Winter Snowflake bird is the first holiday themed piece that I am releasing.

I love the look of birds flitting about in winter. Their bright pops of color liven up the frosty landscape.
But I often wonder how exactly these snow-birds survive the cold.
I am not that great about being a friend to these feathered ones.
I always have lofty goals of setting out bird food and water.
Maybe this will be the year...

Recently, I came upon a service called ShopLocket. This service started as a way to do a pop-up shop anywhere that you can add a bit of HTML code. Like your Facebook business page... or your blog.

So I am testing it out.

I am also hoping that this works as a way for me to offer a limited run of Pop-a-Dot Magnetic Jewelry for all the fundraising that I am doing through that part of my business. Currently, I am at $2046 of my $2500 goal for donations for this year! I desperately want this ShopLocket thing to work because I have an idea for a fundraiser for the Philippines Typhoon Relief that I want to happen yesterday in the next few days.
More on that as it develops...

I have been recently migrating all of my Simple Truths over to my webstore (www.tesoritrovati.com).
This is where I will have all my custom, made-to-order pieces available.
The Etsy shop (www.tesoritrovati.etsy.com) will eventually be for one-offs and samples.
I do have this new limited edition bird on my website, but I am also trying something new....

I have this listed on my Facebook business page under the new 'Buy It Now' tab.
I also have it listed here on the blog.

So if you would like to adopt this Snowflake bird and give it a home on your neck or in your Christmas decorations, you have several ways to do that. But there are only a limited number of these birds that I will produce, so if you miss out you will have to wait for the Spring bird!

12 November 2013

The Ripple Effect

"Imagine what our real neighborhoods would look like if each of us offered,
as a matter of course, just a kind word to another person.
There have been so many stories about the lack of courtesy, the impatience of today's world, road rage.
Sometimes all it takes is one kind word to nourish another person.
Think of the ripple effect that can be created when we nourish someone.
One kind empathetic word has a wonderful way of turning into many."
~Fred Rogers

My friend Kim Stevens of Picking Poppies is an amazing photographer with a poet's soul. I am not quite sure how we found each other, but I am so glad that we did! She regularly posts her beautiful images, spurred by a love of nature and every day life, along with beautiful posts. Today she wrote about being grateful.

Of course, this is the month of outwardly showing our gratitude. I have seen posts on Facebook showing something that the writer is grateful for each day. Those are the kind of posts that I wish there were more of on Facebook. Miss Kim wrote that she had a challenge and to hop over to a collaborative blog that she is part of called Focusing on Life to read more.

Her challenge is precipitated by the Mister Rogers' quote above.

Such a lovely and simply thought. The best ideas always are.

On Sunday, November 10th I was invited, as part of my ongoing relationship with Halcraft USA and the Bead Gallery line, to be a resident 'expert' at the local Michaels store as part of their first ever nationwide 'Pinterest Party'. Since I am likely one of the most frequent customers that the Plover Michaels has, it would be no problem for me to spend a little extra time in the store on a Sunday afternoon, even if I were going to miss the entire Packer game (which was a good thing I missed anyway as I understand it was a train wreck!). Of course, this was a 'volunteer opportunity' that would take me out of my studio for the day, but hopefully put me within arms reach of someone who could benefit from my knowledge.

I didn't know what to expect. The staff at Michaels didn't know what to expect, either. They were not given much direction from their corporate office other than the signage inviting people to "Don't Just Pin It, Make it!" I hope that if Michaels does this again, they might have a bit more information to offer, and specific projects, or an invitation to print off your favorite Pin and bring it in for assistance in making the project or tailoring it to your own tastes. It would have been great if there had been a WiFi connection in the store as I brought my laptop in case anyone wanted to take a look at Pinterest. And it would be awesome if there were 'experts' in all the different types of crafts (i.e., papercrafting, framing, kids crafts, holidays, beading, etc) that would be there to help. But of course, I have to remember that this was a 'volunteer opportunity' and that I don't work for the local Michaels, so that is just my own two cents.

The manager at the local store mentioned to two elderly ladies who regularly take the same jewelry technique classes over and over again (as they forget that they did!) that they were going to have an 'expert' in jewelry available. They were so very impressed and swore not to miss it, plus it was during the day since they don't drive at night.

Right on cue, at 1:00 pm, they showed up in the classroom, eager to learn. They brought their boxes and bins with the projects they were working on.

They introduced themselves as Georgiann and Mary Lou. They lived at the same assisted living center. Miss Geogiann had on a gorgeous retro multi-layered necklace that set off her striking white hair. Miss Mary Lou had had a stroke and so she had limited use of her hands, but she had a vibrant personality. They were both so eager to learn and to have the satisfaction of finishing their projects. They thought that I had flown in from some far off place ;-) and were surprised to learn that I only came from over the hill and two miles away!

Miss Georgiann was working on a blue and green multiple strand necklace with swarovski crystals, acrylic bling balls and lampwork along with a large turquoise colored stone as the focal. She was patterning her color scheme and the multiple strands after one of the examples hanging in the store. What I appreciated so much about her project was that she was truly making it her own, rather than struggling to make it exactly like the store model. She kept asking for approval of how it was looking, and I assured her that it was wonderful. I could tell that she had a plan, and that she had a definite sense of style. I simply nudged her in the right direction.

Miss Mary Lou had strung two sets of black beads alternating with the clear glass spacers that were on the cards into a long necklace that she was making as a gift for her mother. She had very precisely strung the alternating pattern and just didn't know how to finish it. And she wanted to make some earrings to match.

So we went off to the bead aisle to see what we could find.

I imagine that the bead aisle can be a bit daunting to someone new. I had to think back to when I started, not knowing what all the different components were used for, what the difference was between all the metals, not having a clue as to which tools that I needed to complete the work. I take for granted that I know all of these things today. And I am grateful for those along the way who answered my questions and showed me by their examples.

Once we had our supplies, we set to work to learn some skills, starting with crimping. We practiced crimping on some scrap wire. My preference is to use the two-step crimp pliers for a more polished look, but that was almost impossible for these sweet ladies to get the hang of, so we just went with the smooshing technique (why yes, that is a technique!) using the best grip you can get on the needlenose pliers. Not the finish that I would do, but certainly a confidence builder for these ladies.

I forget the things that seem obvious to me are not so commonplace to novices. Like the fact that you need to thread the wire with your crimp tube, through your clasp and back through the crimp tube in order to secure the clasp. We had a few hilarious moments when I kept popping off the top of the tiny vials of crimp tubes only to send that stopper flying through the air and the crimp beads rolling off the table and onto the floor! But actually seeing how to finish the ends of their necklaces led to such an immense sense of accomplishment for these two ladies. This information was like gold to them.

When it came to working with making loops in headpins with beads on them, that is a whole different set of skills. And tools. But Miss Mary Lou was very eager to learn, even though I knew that it would be a challenge for her and she likely didn't have the right tools at home. We made many practice runs on the head pins they had in the classroom, instead of ruining her more expensive sterling silver heart end head pins. Getting the knack of a simple loop should be simple, right? But I personally find them hard to make consistent and so it was with Miss Mary Lou. Eventually I showed her how I make a wrapped loop and she liked that look better. We ended up making a pretty little pair of dangle earrings to match, and she did the wire wrapping herself. You should have heard her ooh and aah!

I regret that I didn't take a picture of their finished projects. I could tell they were very proud of them.

When they were done, I started my own shopping for a holiday project for Michaels that I was assigned (heads up... there is a fashion shoot being done in NYC of my holiday tablescape pieces from this year and last! I can't wait to share that with you!). I was surprised to see Miss Mary Lou come around the corner looking for me.

While Miss Georgiann was in the car waiting, she wanted to seek me out to say thank you. And in her hand was $15. She tried to press that into my palm saying that they wanted to pay me for taking the time to work with them. I assured her that was not necessary. I told her that they were my 'something good' that day and it had been a true pleasure to be with them and share some of my 'secrets'. I told her to take that money and buy more beads so that they could make more pretty things! She truly couldn't believe that I was doing that! It was so sweet.

Meet my new friends, Miss Georgiann and Miss Mary Lou
I am sure that I gave these ladies an overload of information. Miss Georgiann kept telling Miss Mary Lou that she had to remember it for the both of them! I kept trying to tailor it to their level, their experience and their abilities. It might not have been how I would have finished them, but that is not the point. They successfully completed their projects and you could tell they were overjoyed by that. But in the end I think that I gained the most. Their smiles and enthusiasm were all the thanks that I needed.

And the ripple effect goes on.

What ripple effect can you start today?


08 November 2013

How do you like them apples?

'With an apple, I will astonish Paris." ~ Paul Cezanne

This bold statement by the Master Artist Paul Cezanne seems a bit cocky and maybe even gloating, but that is exactly what he did.

At the time when Cezanne was painting, Impressionism was all the rage with its capture of light and shimmering movement. Cezanne set out to reinvigorate the Paris art scene with his novel approach. Rather than dabbing at the canvas with the thin, visible brush strokes of his contemporaries, Cezanne attacked his canvas with a palette knife, creating a structure and framework that focused on form and perspective.

Taking a relatively humble subject - a basket of apples - and elevating those everyday objects to a higher significance is truly art. And with that basket of apples he did astonish Paris.

Cezanne is credited with bridging the crossover from Impressionism to Modernism. Painters like Picasso and Matisse revered his work. He was called a Master of Perspective. He spent his career obsessed with visual perception - how we see what we see.

Still lifes were considered a trivial form of painting in Cezanne's time. But that minor importance was likely what drew him to it. With this neglected form, he was able to push the boundaries and create new conventions. I am sure that he was scoffed at initially, but his commitment to painting these everyday scenes won people over to him. He recorded the world as he saw it and the world liked what he saw.

This month, the Art Bead Scene is featuring Cezanne's famed The Basket of Apples (1893) painting for our inspiration.

At first glance, this arrangement looks simple: a bottle of wine, a toppled fruit basket, a crumpled tablecloth, a stack of cookies. When you look at this painting, you register those images and think that nothing is remarkable about it. But upon closer inspection, you notice that the painting has some oddities.

Everything seems a bit tipsy in this painting. The edges of the table are not consistent, as if you were looking at different angles depending on the side of the table you are seeing. The bottle is about to fall, the apples look like they might topple off the tippy table at any second, the cookies seem to be almost hovering on the plate. And everything has a sort of wonky quality to it. What is going on here?

The still life appears to be viewed from multiple angles, not a single point of reference as his predecessors would have done. It is as if you are moving around the table as you view it, with the planes of the table's geometry shifting as you do so. In fact, there are no right angles in this at all. It is the unbalanced parts that give this painting its balance. Perhaps Cezanne was simply shifting his perspective when he painted it, like setting up his easel in a different spot as he came to capture the image day by day, or even minute by minute.

There is a really delightful multi-media presentation of how this many have come to be told for the benefit of children through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Check out Cezanne's Astonishing Apples and the children's story An Apple A Day. I can just envision him painstakingly arranging the tableau, and then progressively eating his way through his subject matter as he went!

In the past, artists painted from a fixed space and perspective, as if a snapshot recording the moment, forever trapping the subject in a frozen state, and the viewer along with them. But with this new approach, with the shifting perspective, Cezanne almost makes the image come more alive, like a moving video camera image.It makes me feel a bit woozy when I consider it this way!

For the Simple Truths Sampler Club in 2013 I have been focusing on using the Art Bead Scene inspiration art be my guide. (You can see a retrospective of the first 10 months of the year here.) What I first noticed was the shapes and colors of the fruit. I didn't even consider the odd arrangement. So for my Simple Truths Sampler Club for November, I focused on the colors and texture.

I recently learned some polymer clay tricks from Heather Powers at her Inspired by Nature retreat. Achieving a translucent, shimmering effect is what I was going for, since it feels like the light and shadows on the fruit make it so alive, and this technique was perfect. I have never really tried making beads before, but I had a whole stash of solid bead cores that just right for this challenge. So I fashioned a set of beads for the Club, with two hand-faceted rondelles paired with a stockier little barrel bead, that reminded me of 'them apples', with part of a quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of the book Wishes Fulfilled, Mastering the Art of Manifesting (which sounds like a great book!)

"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change."

I think that Master Cezanne would approve of the method and the message.

I am slowly moving my listings from my Etsy shop over to my webstore, www.tesoritrovati.com. I will be selling the custom, made-to-order items in the webstore and keeping the one-offs and samples in my Etsy shop. As things are selling out in the Etsy shop, I will not be replacing them. So in case you are interested, these beads as shown are available in my new webstore, www.tesoritrovati.com 

A set of two faceted rondelles: $14
A single barrel bead with the message 'change the way you look at things': $16
A set of all three beads: $25

04 November 2013

4th Annual Challenge of Color :: ColourLovers Wordlinks

'I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.' ~ Joan Miro

I love color. And I love words. Put those two things together and I am a happy camper.

This year is the 4th annual Challenge of Color and if you like color and words, I invite you to join me in a creative game!

Have you heard of Colourlovers.com?

"COLOURlovers is an international creative community that helps people discover their inner designer. We provide people with a wealth of user created & shared color inspiration as well as tools that make the creative process as simple as possible. Whether you’re simply looking for a color palette to kickstart your next project or want to produce a piece of vector art, we have the tools and services to help anybody from go from design inspiration to execution."

There are some great tools here if you love colors, like a color palette creator called COPASO. One of the things I like best is the community aspect. People follow each other, and encourage new color palettes, patterns and ways of using the colors. You can follow individual members called 'lovers.'

A few years ago, I stumbled on a group that was playing a game with the color palettes. This game reminds me of the game show Chain Reaction. Are you familiar with that game?

In this clever game show, two teams compete to complete chains of words after the first and last words of the chain are revealed. They do this by getting one letter at a time.

The WordLink game on ColourLovers is a similar concept.

From the wordlink instructions...

"with wordlink palettes you start with a two-word (or more) colour name. the next colour name has to start with the last word of the colour before it. each colour continues this way to the end. try to make the last word of the last colour the first word of the first colour. this is really hard, though."

Each color created on the site is given a name by it's creator (even you can create colors and name them!). This game is a challenge to make a link of the names (containing two or more words), with the last word in the name phrase matching the first word in the next color name phrase. Be careful! This can be addicting! And sometimes it makes for a surprisingly beautiful palette.

Here is an example that I made in 2011 showing the colors and the names in their linking order:

Colors in this palette, from left to right:
clear focus
focused mountain
mountains majesty
majesty of midnight
midnight angel
After I made the palette I was able to click the button below it to 'toggle widths' just for fun! And from the editing I was able to add this to the wordlinks group.

The WordLink game is progressive, meaning that the next palette starts where the last one left off. I don't really play it like that. I just like to challenge myself to create the wordlinks. And to play with colors. 

There is also a derivative of this game that is called a circular wordlink where the last word in the last color of the palette is the first word in the first color of the palette. That is pretty challenging, but I actually did it the other day!

Here is an example (that I did not make - you can see my circular wordlink palette below) that shows the circular nature of the palette...
Colors in this palette, from left to right:
Beach Balloon
Balloon Ghost
  Ghostly Looks
Looks like a storm
Storms on the Beach

The ColourLovers.com website can be searched by the name of the colors that the community members have created, so the trick to doing this is to pick a word to search by and start with the first color that grabs you. 

So, what do you think? Do you think that you want to play a little color game and be inspired by it?

Here is what I propose for the Challenge of Color...two options...one that is simple and one that is a twist! (You didn't think I would forget the twist, did you?)

Option 1: The Simple Challenge
  1. Go to Colourlovers.com and peruse their palettes.
  2. Pick one that you like. (This might well be the toughest challenge... to narrow down the choices!)
  3. Grab the palette by grabbing the html code in the Share This Palette area, or selecting Get This Palette Image to download a jpg)
  4. Another method I have found is to use the Windows Snipping Tool.
Option 2: The Twist Challenge
You know I love a twist! It is actually easier than it sounds, once you get the hang of it!
  1. Go to Colourlovers.com
  2. Create an account (important: this will allow you to create and save palettes).
  3. Open up two windows (not tabs). 
  4. Optional: Have a pen and a pad of paper handy to jot the color names down.
  5. In one window, open COPASO (or Basic, like I do because I find COPASO a bit intimidating ;-)
  6. In the other window, open Colourlovers.com and Browse>Colors.
  7. Click the Search button to find colors by a keyword. Choose any keyword that you like! (Let's use the word 'cinnamon')
  8. From the list of colors that comes up, scroll until you find one that you like, making sure that the color name has at least two descriptive words.
  9. See that Hex number? That is the secret. Double-click on that number and copy it.
  10. Switch over to the first window and paste the Hex number in the box indicated.
  11. Just below this color picker, you will see a few fields. In the Description field, type the name of the color and the hex code.
  12. Go back to the second window and search on the last word in the color name (for this instance, search for 'sticks'). You can be relaxed about how the term fits, like 'stick' instead of 'sticks.'
  13. To add the next color, click on the square you want to put it in to highlight it (a line will be over that square) and repeat steps 10 and 11. 
  14. Keep repeating these steps until you fill all five colors in the palette. (Don't forget to write the names of the colors down!)
  15. To share the palette on your own blog, see step #3 in Option 1 above.

Here is the palette I created called sweet cinnamon magic

I would suggest practicing. You might actually find it quite addicting!

Participating in the 4th Annual Challenge of Color is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Regardless of which option you choose (Option 1: Simple or Option 2: Twist), create something (any creative medium is fair game!) inspired by the palette you select or create using the colors in any concentration of your choice. 
  2. Blog about your palette and your creation any time during the month. 
  3. Add your blog post URL to the InLinkz code available on the reveal date, Monday, December 2nd.

So, are you with me?

The sign up below will only be for me to get a sense of who is playing with me and in a few days I will email you all through this to keep you moving forward on the challenge. 

Join the 4th Annual Challenge of Color

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