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Friday, December 21, 2012

"Work of Our Hands" Give-Away

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 Beautiful hibiscus brooch


This is a quickie post asking everyone to take a couple of minutes to check out this give-away... which I am permitting myself to enter as it is being drawn at the end of January 2013 (Yay!). Enough with my self-imposed 2012 moratorium on contests! Val Garber is an American who moved to Namibia in 2002 and took up the challenge of teaching the crafts she loved to the underemployed community she met there. Her blog, Work of Our Hands, documents the development, with her students, of her ceramic/pottery business, which now sells internationally. I think Val is an inspiration. You are livin' my dream, girl!

Since I am crazy about colour, I love this quote by Val from my favorite post African Color Wild and Free:


"Sometimes I have to caution our artisans, that Westerners are not as liberated in color use as Africans, and selling wild color combinations is often hard to do. Myself ? I have to say, that how I think about color, and what colors "go together" has greatly expanded since living in Namibia, but I still have a very long ways to go before being truly FREE."




Enough colour for ya?

**By the way, if you become a new subscriber to Val's blog, your name goes in the "hat" twice for the give-away. SCROLL ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" OPTION.**

---WHEN YOU COMMENT, YOU MAY GET THAT "Delivery Status Notification (Failure)" EMAIL, BUT YOUR COMMENTS WILL GET THROUGH, USUALLY IN A FEW DAYS, I THINK.

I also love this quote that Val shared recently on her Facebook page:




Let's all keep those small things coming, everyone! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Less Consumption, More Compassion

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$20 - One Person's Clean Water, $100 - Give a Family Clean Water,
$500 - Water for a Classroom, $1,500 - Cost of a Hand Pump


I'm giving a gift to The Water Project this year. It is one week before Christmas. I'm ALWAYS a little depressed in December. I understand that is commonplace: Christmas is an exceptionally lonely time for many. Whether it is the anniversary of Mum's death (yesterday, December 17th), the lack of daylight hours, even the sad and trite scenes of wasteful consumerism as panicked shoppers do that "last-minute" thing. And of course our many tears shed over last week's tragedy.

I was strangely cheered as I watched this little video (can't remember where I linked from... too many blogs). I can't offer anything but my thoughts and prayers for the lost children of Sandy Hook School. I have chosen to help other children, in an under-developed part of the world, by sending a donation of water via this non-profit organization. I cling to the hope that it will make a difference.




Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I Spoiled Myself Rotten!

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Charms from: CassiJeanRhondaIngeCherylEmmaMarshaNatalie,
JenniferAlenkaShaihaLeslie, and Cheri




































Soooo, this is my Christmas shopping from me to me, done! Today I received my wonderful package of Art Charms from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. Not sure what I'll make with them yet. I have one matched set for earrings (I had one from the exchange and managed to snag a second at the eBay auction fundraiser). The rest will be drooled over for an extended period before being put to work.

This is my last chance to thank all the artists who took part, and especially our hard-working Jen. You guys rock... and Jen... hope you get amnesia soon and start planning next year's Charm Swap!

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Child Is Born: 2012 Ornament Blog Hop

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This is my reveal for this year's Ornament Blog Hop. I've always wanted to create something that honoured the traditional Madonna motif but with a more modern twist. I baked a layer of multicoloured mica polymer clay, using Cindy Lietz's Blend and Switch technique. I had made a little sketch of the mother and child, but as usual, the end result took on a life of its own! Love when that happens... usually LOL. 

Steps in the ornament design

My finished ornament. I'm not much of an artist, so it is a little rough, but it really represents for me the bond that forms so effortlessly when a mother holds her new infant for the first time. I've had that amazing experience four times, and each occasion was a revelation, unique and never to be forgotten. After I became a mother, the Gift of the Child of Bethlehem became more concrete and yet a source of greater mystery to me!






Sunday, December 02, 2012

Mea culpa and a peace offering...

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Just a quick little post. I am putting off my Challenge of Color Part 2 post til later in the week (don't even ask LOL). To make it up to you I am linking this sweet video, especially for anyone who is silly enough to THROW OUT their old Christmas cards. Heck, after watching this, I may grab all the boxes on clearance after the Big Day!






I first saw this yesterday on Eva Maria Keiser Designs, an amazing site posting, as far as I can figure, several times each day! She shares beading, colour, crochet, paper, recycling and much more (oh, you beaders will love her designs) including lots of videos. So check Eva out!

Gotta run, my favorite Christmas movie is starting... always makes me cry... several times. "It's a Wonderful Life"... dating myself!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Becoming a Story...

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Back at the end of October, Heather Powers of Humblebeads blog put out a call for the 3rd Annual Ornament Blog Hop. As freshly minted new blogger, I hadn't yet had the pleasure of participating in this Holiday tradition, so I was eager to hop aboard!




I bet this looks like polymer clay newly conditioned in a pasta machine, right? Well, if you guessed that, you are correct! This is the stage I call "becoming a story": the sketches have been drawn, and I am ready to start "playing" with my clay to see if the reality will bear any resemblance to my inner (cartoonish) vision! The moment of truth...

Drop in on Tuesday, December 4th to see if I manage to create a miniature work of art. And stick around for a visit to all the imaginative artisans who will be playing along!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Colour My World... Part 1: Algerian Abstract

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*(For some music of the ancient land of Algeria to help set the mood, please scroll down.)* 

Welcome to my first post in Erin's and Brandi's Challenge of Color Blog Hop reveal. The participants will be showing their creations inspired by some wonderfully unique palettes: colour-enhanced satellite photos of our planet's geological wonders. We were each offered two choices, and today I'm sharing some thoughts on my first palette of colours:





"What look like pale yellow paint streaks slashing through a mosaic of mottled colors are ridges of wind-blown sand that make up Erg Iguidi, an area of ever-shifting sand dunes extending from Algeria into Mauritania in northwestern Africa. Erg Iguidi is one of several Saharan ergs, or sand seas, where individual dunes often surpass 500 meters-nearly a third of a mile-in both width and height." US Geological Survey. These huge phenomena develop only under particularities of climate and over a million years (the blink of an eye in geological terms!)




Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get inspired purely by the sand dunes of Algeria, so I did a little design research to uncover some more about this unique North African nation!



Algeria is a country rich with history, culture and art, known for its pottery and intricately woven carpets.  The Algerian government has gone to great lengths to pour money into the handicrafts industry. The art of making and decorating with rugs and carpets in North Africa dates back to the Stone Age and began with the Berber people.  The Algerian rug is made to be the focal point of the room’s interior decorating.  You get the carpet first, and then match everything else to it.  These carpets are usually made of goat hair or wool and are generally woven or knotted.



Typical  Geometric Rug Motif


An Algerian home is not complete without pottery. The pottery is in different colors and usually has adornments to make it attractive. It is usually a family trade and the knowledge of how to make the pots is passed on from mother to daughter.   



Traditional Design


I created a little ornament from (what else?) polymer clay, that pays tribute to the shapes and motifs in the Algerian vessel above and in the common architecture of city buildings shown in the video below (click and enjoy some traditional music, too!)



Algerian Abstract Ornament
November 2012
   


 


*(I hope to present my second colour inspiration this weekend, from a satellite photo of Bolivia's Amazon forest.)


Now check out these other designers:

Erin Prais-Hintz  http://treasures-found.blogspot.ca/2012/11/color-full-world-welcome-to-3rd-annual.html
Rebecca Anderson    http://songbeads.blogspot.com
Chrizette Bayman    http://beadsoupmix.blogspot.com
Lori Bowring Michaud    http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Stephanie Buss    http://maxandlucie.blogspot.com
Cece Cormier    http://thebeadingyogini.com
Janice Everett    http://JLynnJewels.blogspot.com
Cherrie Fick    http://designsinthelight.co
Denielle Hagerman    http://somebeadsandotherthings.com/
Brandi Hussey    http://brandigirlblog.com
Kirsi Luostarinen    http://kirsiluokorut.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger    http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Rachel Van-Walsk    http://balancedcrafts.com/blog
Joan Williams    http://www.lilrubyjewelry.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jewellery for your Inner Geek!

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Anyone else out there who grew up reading Popular Mechanics and the Edmund Scientific catalogue? You know, for fun? I was a child of the 60's, well before (widespread) computers in homes and the undreamt-of joys of Internet surfing. You geeks know who you are... I want to share a very cool site called Instructables, which is the ultimate DIY and hack place for us armchair geeks. Their easy to use and PDF-printable step-by-steps run the gamut: Bikes, Boats, Camping, Cars, CNC, Decorating, Electronics, Furniture, Gardening, Green, Home Renovation, Kids, Lamps, Recipes, Science, Solar, Tools, Travel, Wii, and Woodworking.

And yes, they do jewellery. It's under "decorating"... as in decorating ourselves, right? Here are two recent projects in time for Holiday gift-making:


How to Make LED Circuit Board Earrings


Vectorizing Drawings for Laser Engraving and Cutting Jewelry



Click here to go to the Instructables jewelry main page. There are lots of less techie jewellery projects, too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Beauty of the Earth...

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Coming up this Friday, November 30: the reveal for the Challenge of Color, hosted by Erin of Treasures Found, in collaboration with Brandi of Brandi Girl Blog. Eighty participants will be showing their creations inspired by some wonderfully unique palettes: colour-enhanced satellite photos of our planet's geological wonders. We were each offered two choices, and I'm still deciding whether to do one or both!







I can't wait to see what everyone else has prepared... hope you'll be able to join us as well!

Here's a bonus video... I love this simple and beautiful hymn, which has remained popular since it was written almost 150 years ago:


For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies. 

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light. 

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight. 

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild. 

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

7000 Bracelets for Hope Blog Hop

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Like many of you, I am always on the lookout for charities that accept gifts of jewellery, so I was pleased when Sue Kennedy of Sue Beads announced a blog hop for the 7000 Bracelets for Hope campaign. This is a promotion by the Global Genes Project, which is one of the leading rare and genetic disease patient advocacy organizations in the world. This non-profit organization accepts bracelet donations to help promote awareness of the unique needs of patients and their families: "Each individual blue bracelet design we receive represents the uniqueness of one of the 7,000 rare diseases."

I've been collecting blue beads for a while so I was grateful for a little motivation to start creating!



All four feature polymer clay focals and glass beads. The cute rainbow heart in number 3 is by Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio, and those are wing dings in number 4 from Genea Beads




Those flowery focals in number 2 are inspired by Joan Tayler's blog post on making two-sided tiles or wafer beads without fingerprints. And number 1 features a simple fish shape sliced into four pieces. I've still got a ton of blue goodies so I'll try to put together a few more bracelets before mailing them off to the 7000 Bracelets for Hope!

Please visit these other participants, and remember: anyone can donate a bracelet to this worthy cause. You don't have to be a jewellery seller, just have a pair of willing hands and a giving heart!






























Sunday, November 18, 2012

LAST CHANCE FOR SOME CHARMERS!

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THERE ARE NOW ONLY 24 HOURS LEFT!
Many of the auctions on these beautiful handmade charms will be expiring in one day or less! (Scroll to the bottom for a direct link to Jennifer's eBay listings.) This is your last chance to bid on these great one-of-a-kind creations... and so much variety of style and material:

Ceramic and Polymer Clay


Metal and Wire Work


Mixed Media


Lampwork and Glass


Click here to bid on your favourites!
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
All proceeds to the Beads of Courage program for seriously ill children.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You can call me PollyAnna...

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This is the image I saw on the Megan's Beaded Designs FB page today. I once referred to myself as an optimistic pessimist during an online conversation. I love these little sketches that make me lean a little further to the "O" side. Thanks for sharing, Megan!

I also dig how she so serendipitously sums up what many of us are suspecting: her latest blog post, How You Should Regard Your Competition, made me purr like a kitten. Check it out!

And keep the kindness movin' along, will ya? xoxo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Charms Have Arrived!

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Just a reminder: the following charms and many more can be purchased at Jennifer's eBay auction which is live right now. But hurry... some are already sold! ALL PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO THE "BEADS OF COURAGE" CHARITY FOR SERIOUSLY ILL CHILDREN.

From top: Shelley Graham Turner of Fabric of my Life; Robin Koza
of Robin Koza Glass and Art Jewelry; Shai Williams of
Shaiha's Ramblings; Rita of Jewel School Friends 

Clockwise from upper right: Babette Cox of Digit Designs by Babette; Carolyn
Chenault of Sea Glass Inspired Beads & Jewelry; Deb Kauzlarich of
Flame. Color. Metal. Glass.; Perri Jackson of Shaktipaj Designs
Ah, yes, they are late to the party, but all is forgiven! My long-awaited Charm Swap guests were waiting for me in my mailbox this evening. Sorry the photos aren't better, ladies, but I seldom find photos can do justice anyway... especially when I'm taking them LOL.

This is another opportunity to firstly thank Jennifer of Glass Addictions for graciously organizing, coordinating and generally keeping somewhat sane while keeping over 500 little charms under control. You rock, Jen! By the way, over the next few days while the 50 or so donated charms are being auctioned on eBay, Jen is having a charm fashion show over on her blog. Click on the link above to go there.

I am always amazed at the talent and creativity of my fellow artisans. To you wonderful ladies in my group, I want to thank you for these precious little works of art. I love them all. I had some kind of fantasy that I would be using them in jewellery and sending them out into the world. That may or may not happen! I need some time to enjoy them for myself. MY PRECIOUS... So to Babette, Carolyn, Deb, Perri, Rita, Robin, Shaiha and Shelley, my hat is off to you! You are my idols and I am indeed proud to own the original creations you have so kindly bestowed on me. 

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