Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bird and Poppies Won the EPE Challenge!

I'm happy to report this morning that my piano key scrimshaw pendant won the weekly EPE challenge with the theme of Recycling! Talk about good news! Each winner gets to come up with the next theme and then choose the winner from the entries. I chose Rebirth and Renewal, which seems to me to be wide open for all kinds of work. I know we'll get some fabulous entries... can't wait to see them.

If you haven't checked out the EPE blog yet, you really should. There are some wonderful weekly contributors, some extremely talented members, and it's a beautiful blog. Take the time to do it; you'll be glad you did. And of course... it's all about supporting those who struggle with cancer, so the cause is a good one as this dreadful disease affects so very many of us in one way or another.

And by the way, the prop in the photo of my pendant? It's a gorgeous little felted wool envelope made by GinnyHuber, an EPE team member. Her work is fabulous, and this is such a cool item that can hold jewelry when traveling, business cards, cash and credit card if you want to travel light, lipstick or other small makeup items, favorite buttons, anything really.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What do you do when you're not feeling well?

Everybody handles illness in different ways. My husband likes to relax in his chair and watch old Star Trek episodes and really old horror films. Normally I end up watching those with him when I should be doing something else. We are both big Star Trek junkies. When I'm not feeling well, typically I like to stay in bed and read and drink tea and nap as much as possible. Well, I've been out of the loop for about a week now dealing with some illness I've never had before and finally, finally I'm starting to feel better after nights and nights of sleeplessness, new symptoms arising with each sunrise, and "medication time, medication time" (who knows what movie that quote is from?) that I so do not like to take. But I was not in a place where I could concentrate enough to read or relax enough to nap or do most anything that I would do during a "normal" bout of sickness.

So I'm going to spare you the horrid details and just tell you that at least this sickness gave me a chance to do a little beading over the past two days, which I haven't done in a long, long time. I sure didn't have the energy to paint or to do scrimshaw, so beading was a good choice because it's rather relaxing and I can easily walk away from it if I need to. And no cleaning of brushes... the cleanup that accompanies painting is not such a fun task.

I began by doing repair to someone else's work. I have a friend who keeps me supplied with repair jobs, and this one has been hanging around for too long, so now it's done! Shown below are a few photos of my own new creations from Friday and Saturday. I may list one or two on Etsy, but I'm thinking that my Etsy shop will be foremost devoted to my paintings and piano key necklaces and an occasional unusual or interesting beaded necklace.

Arches of the Desert:
This necklace reminds me of Southwestern Desert colors and the movement in the enameled pendant reminds me of those Arches in Utah. The pendant is recycled/upcycled from an old pair of earrings. I love this piece with its ambers and browns and pinks and blacks. It contains coral, shell, copper, mookaite, red jasper, and oilslick rondelles.

Night Song:
Created with hematite rounds and freshwater pearls for the strand, this is a different kind of piece for me for two reasons: it uses only two stones where I normally use a variety of stones, pearls, crystals in one piece, and its pendant is removeable, so you can wear it with or without. The pendant features a glorious piece of agate that reminds me of the sky at night when the moon is almost full and the atmospheric clouds are lit up with its brightness. Surrounding the agate are tourmaline and a beautifully pale citrine.

Roots of My Soul:
Here's a necklace that features a wonderfully rustic and unique pendant by Etsy's claynfiber, a member of Etsyveg, one of the teams I'm a member of. I'm not sure if I'll list this piece or keep it myself. The pendant reminds me of tree branches and I've included earthy beads to accompany it. There are pietersite, white turquoise, Russian Picasso Jasper, hematite, moonstone, and copper. I think this is an elegant little piece in all its rustic goodness.

And finally, Sonoran Sundown:
Ah those desert colors again! Well, they're here too on the east coast during the fall and winter... the colors of grain growing wild in the barren fields, hay against a dark sky, fallen ash leaves mixed with the browns of oak leaves on the forest floor. This is a long necklace so that the gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, lampwork glass focal bead nestles in the right spot of cleavage. This focal bead was created by R. Andrew Glass Studio on Etsy. It's large... 22 mm across and long, and it's full of beautiful ambers, creams, peaches, pale greens swirling throughtout the borosilicate glass. I've had it for about a year and waited for the right time to use it. It hangs from a 48 inch strand of a mix of gemstones, pearls, swarovski crystals, and fabulous sterling silver beads... all put in place to complement the focal bead. And sorry, folks, this one is MINE!

All of this to say that I guess you have to make the best of whatever is happening in your life while it's happening. Of course, that's not always easy, but it's often worth it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Story of Mountains and Connections

What a great week... not only did spring finally arrive with my daffodils in full bloom, beautiful sunshine, warm temperatures (which means also fewer fires in the woodstove... and less dirt in the house!), but I had the pleasure of having my grandpuppy here again for the week (she was great company for me while John was away and for Abby who is still missing Bruschi, as am I!). And, and this is a big ol' AND... my bracelet / cuff arrived from LaTouchables... all the way from Germany!

I have been following Dawn's blog, and I've been watching her progress since she began creating these gorgeous bracelets and cuffs from amazing materials. She's not been selling them too long on Etsy, but man, does she sell them! Many of them get bought up just after she lists them. And that's what happened with Nanga Parbat! As soon as I saw this one on Dawn's blog, I knew that I had to have it.

It spoke to my soul... its colors, its textures, its design... and of course that fact that Nanga Parbat, as Dawn wrote in her description, "is the mountain with the highest face in the world." I live right beneath some of the oldest mountains in the world, the Sauratown Mountains. One of my neighbors has written in his blog, "North Carolina’s Sauratown Mountains are between 500 million and 1 billion years old. These unique mountains could be called hills after being worn down by so many years of erosion. They were once higher than the Himalayas but now top out at just over 2500 feet." So is it any wonder that I felt immediately connected to this wonderful Nanga Parbat creation? I think not.

So yesterday, I ventured once more to the Post Office hoping to find what I've been waiting for, and there was a note in my box that I needed to sign for a package! Yippee!! This bracelet is everything I'd hoped it would be and more. It fits perfectly, feels so soft and light on my wrist, and I feel that I bought the best bracelet Dawn has ever made.

These are some photos that my son took for me today when he drove up to collect his dog. He's a photographer in real life, so I'm quite pleased that he came here today... just in time to get some fabulous photos for me to show off my new purchase! And yes, I can and will wear it when I play guitar because it looks fabulous there on my strumming and picking wrist!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Know It's Spring When....

... you see robins in the yard, of course. But even better, for me, is when the spring peepers start calling. These teeny tiny frogs are chorus frogs and are found all over the Eastern United States and even up into Canada. They live in marshy areas, wherever there's some standing water... ponds, swamps, wet woodlands, pools of standing rainwater... and around the middle of March, they start singing! (Photo here is from Wikipedia.)

I heard them for the first time last Thursday, after we'd had some rain, as I drove to a friend's house in the late afternoon. There's a creek running alongside the road, and if you open your car window, you know they're there! These wonderful little creatures love that wet area and sing to their heart's content... and to mine too! And when I walked the dogs down through the woods towards another creek which runs into the Dan River, I heard the tree frogs again, in all their springtime glory! These little guys are really small... often just under an inch, but they can grow to an inch and a half. Here's a graphic I found on the web that shows their relative size, compared to a paper clip!

Around here, you won't hear them during the day; they, like many frogs, are nocturnal, only coming out to sing when the sky grows dark. At night they also feast on beetles, spiders, flies, and ants. During they day, they stay hidden away from sight and predators. They can climb in trees with their large toe pads, but they usually stay on the damp ground, living in the loose undergrowth. They breed and lay their eggs in the water, and if they're lucky, they can live about three years in the woodland edges. It is only the males that sing, an amorous high-pitched call to the females... and baby, are they loud! I guess that "you know you want me" instinct is really strong! They usually congregate in the hundreds, so it's hard and unusual to hear just one spring peeper; you hear them in a loud chorus song. It's amazing! Take a look at the video to hear them singing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What to Wear?

Not too long ago, I received in the post this fabulous bamboo jersey T... so stylish and sexy and soft and just all around gorgeous... from GinaMicheleVintage. She sells her own original designer styles as well as wonderful vintage finds. This T is one of her originals, and I fell in love with it as soon as I opened the package. Of course there was still snow on the ground and a cold wind in the air, so I've had to set it aside and wait for the warmer temperatures to arrive. Well, they're coming, along with the springtime sun and the flowers... finally!

So today I decided to do a little window shopping on Etsy to see what I might find that would go with my new cobalt blue T. I thought you might like to have a look with me.

So I started with this fun and fabulous circle skirt by textureclothing

Then I found these wonderful leafy enameled earrings from decoratethediva...

If I'm feeling a little bit festive, I might add these lovely hair pins by poetica in my hair

Then I'd drape this gorgeous beaded necklace from beadworksbykerri around my neck

For my wrist, a sweet little felted wood bracelet by ingOOte, whose work I attest for first-hand!

And to carry my must-haves, which aren't many, I'd take along this Everyday Purse by annyandme

And last, and definitely not least, I'd sport these gorgeous Ariat cowgirl boots... a girl can't have too many...

So you may notice that I am not one who likes to match everything perfectly, and I like to wear things just a little bit different. And that's why Etsy is a perfect place to shop! So many choices, so many styles, and something for everybody! Give it a whirl, if you haven't yet!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Paintings... Springtime Joy!

Bright color is returning to the landscape and it feels so good! Getting into the painting studio has been a real treat for me lately, and here are the results:

The Grace of Morning Light... a meadowlark and a mockingbird share space in this 24 x 30 oil celebrating early mornings filled with birdsong.

Spring Jubilee... a vibrant little 6 x 12 oil full of joy.

Wildflower Dance... another 6 x 12 oil with a muted aqua green background and cheery red wildflowers... will be listing on Etsy today.

And in a different vein, this one in progress, just begun today, of the meadow where I do some dog-walking on a regular basis. So perhaps I'll put a dog in there once this paint is dry.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Fine Spring Day

Yippee! It seems that spring is making her way into the hills of North Carolina, and it makes me want to sing! I woke this morning and for the first time in months did not have to build a fire in the woodstove. Though the temperature outside at 7 am was about 36, it felt warm enough in the house from last night's fire, especially when I dressed and put on a loose wool cardigan.

Abby and I went outside this morning and did a little looking around. Well, she sniffed, I looked. And here are a few things I discovered, along with the most beautiful spring blue sky.

Daffodils about to burst...

Blueberries budding...

Yellow-bellied sapsucker in the walnut tree...

The peach tree just beginning to bud...

With all this gorgeous color abounding in the yard, I just have to get into the painting studio today. I've been working on the ivory etchings for a couple weeks now, and I have truly enjoyed it... but now it's time for color and the smell of oil paints.

I hope you enjoy your day as I know I'm going to enjoy mine!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Keeping Busy with New Work

This week has been hard and a little bit lonely, but I'm trying to stay busy with new work in the piano keys field. I'm waiting on some silver chains to arrive in the post, so that I can list the pendants on Etsy, and hopefully those will come today. I've listed two pair of earrings, and my first pendant began its long flight to Germany earlier this week.


Moonlit Mountains...

The Sound of Silence...

Morning Bird...

Summer Thistles...

Hymn to Joy...

Stay Tuned!