29 April 2010

Play Time!

Need a creative boost? Come play! Click on the image above to join the fun; you'll be paired with a partner and swap beads and components to make something you might not have considered making on your own. Now that I've signed up I'm going to sit down at my newly spacious workbench to pick some fun things to send off and inspire someone. I can't wait to see how this turns out and look forward to stretching my creative wings again!

I know I need to post more often, but I had to take some time to clean AND de-clutter the house to prepare for my parents' visit. The de-cluttering went beautifully; for the first time in my life I was able to let go of a LOT of stuff, and the physical letting go has spurred a mental/emotional letting go of stuff I don't need to carry around in my head and heart anymore, either. What I have left is stuff that is truly meaningful or useful: family pictures and heirlooms, batik fabrics, mosaic and jewelry supplies, and most importantly SPACE to create again. I'm just about finished with coursework for the week and, since high winds will keep me indoors away from the garden, I can do jewelry today... or maybe some sewing, something I haven't had time or SPACE to do in a long time. While de-cluttering I came across a huge collection of unfinished projects, from quilt tops to baby clothes, and will focus on clearing those out before I start anything new. That's my new mantra: use what I've got, and finish what I start. I always start new projects with a burst of creative energy; now I'm going to apply that energy to finishing what I'm sure will be beautiful pieces once they're DONE.

19 April 2010

A Giveaway at Lorelei's Blog

Brass Bracelet with Handmade Bird "Buttons," Lorelei of Lorelei's Blog, 2010
I follow a good number of blogs, mostly on jewelry and mosaic design, and I've been following Lorelei's for a few months now and just love it. Her work is unique and serenely beautiful, her photography is superb, and she writes with great personality. She's having a giveaway through Wednesday for some wonderful pendants she made by hand, and although I'm dying to win (especially since my birthday is Thursday, wink wink!) I also wanted to share this giveaway and point you to her inspiring blog. I am entranced both by the individual pieces she makes and with how she puts them together. Although I seem to be back in a creative lull, I'm very happy to read about and see what others are creating; thank you, Lorelei, for sharing with us.

Detail from panel of bird fabric
As I mentioned in my last post, aside from school (second-to last quarter of coursework, for an MS in marital/family therapy) I'm channeling my energy into NOT being even remotely eligible for the diagnosis of "hoarder" by sorting through boxes and bags of stuff I've been carrying around for one or even two decades. Fabric: I'm unloading most of my stash in my new Etsy shop. Books: I'm donating several boxes' worth (just about everything except jewelry and gardening books) to the local library and will send more over after I get the rest back from my ex-husband. Clothes and tchotchkes and household goods: I'm holding back a few essentials and family keepsakes but am donating several boxes and bags' worth to the local thrift store (a half-dozen boxes of my and the kids' oldish clothes are already there). And various papers: TO THE DUMP. Why have I been keeping bills and clippings and tons of other crap from 5 or 10 or more years ago? Because... I keep stuff out of habit, and then I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it, and then everything gets stuffed into boxes and closets or crawl spaces or attics, and then when I have to move... Good God, what a mess.

No more. I'm letting go, finally, not only of stuff but also all the "history" it carries. For some of it, good riddance; for other stuff, especially beautiful stuff like batiks and flannel quilting fabric and wonderful kids' prints, if I can't use it it seems almost immoral to just stash it away. Plus, I'm really REALLY tired of moving boxes and boxes of stuff that never got opened after the last move (or two, or three).

17 April 2010

Fabric Destash

I have been sorting through my stuff lately and have decided to lighten my load a bit. I have an amazing (or ridiculous, depending on your perspective) fabric collection and realized not too long ago that not only would I never find time to use it all, but I don't actually enjoy sewing nearly enough to even want to try. So I'm keeping some cotton batiks for a few quilts I'd like to make down the road but otherwise will work my way through a rather large stack of unfinished projects dating back three, four, even seven years, and will let the rest of my fabric go.

This cool cat batik is already gone, but I have many more cotton batiks, prints, and flannels at my new Etsy shop. Prices are about half the original retail; these fabrics are in new condition but I really need to unload them (and a whole lot of other stuff) before someone nominates me for Hoarders....

09 April 2010

"Let not your heart be troubled"

This lovely pewter sparrow from Green Girl Studios seems to prefer blue (I used my other one with kyanite in a necklace I made last fall), or maybe that's just my inclination these days. For this necklace I used faceted iolite, some beautiful faceted crystal quartz briolettes, Swarovski crystals, cultured pearls, and Balinese and sterling silver. I've made two other iolite necklaces with filigree flower pendants and will put all up for sale in my Etsy shop sometime next week before school gets too busy again. I start my second-to-last quarter on Monday -- four classes to go -- and am just excited enough to get through the 10 weeks of intensity... I hope. But I aim to keep open a bit of creative time, most likely in the morning, because we all know what happens when it's all work, no play...

(This post's title, by the way, comes from the gospel hymn, "His Eye Is On the Sparrow," one of my favorites. I know, Quakers don't sing hymns, but I do anyway.)

04 April 2010

Arisen, Again

Peach Blossoms, Spring 2009
This time last year the tiny peach tree outside my bedroom window was in full bloom, but it's late this year. That's probably a good thing; these lovely blossoms were killed by a hard frost soon after I took this picture last spring and we never got any peaches. Such is mountain life; in any case I wanted to put up a photo of the amazing beauty that spring gives us because, to me, that is what Easter is about: life returning. So whether it's Christ rising from His tomb or Persephone returning from the underworld or just plain warm weather getting the sap running and the birds singing again after a cold, dark winter, I bid you much peace and beauty on this and every day.

03 April 2010

April Showers

April Showers, Wirewrapped Apatite and Peridot Necklace
I seem to have made this wirewrapped bail (adapted from an Eni Oken tutorial) a standard focal builder because it works for so many kinds of beads, from gemstone to glass, polished to rough. This piece uses a rough apatite crystal from Mexico, one of a handful gifted to me by Two Cranes' Dean Crane, and although the photo doesn't show it well this specimen has some beautiful fluorescence inside. I put this pendant on a necklace of peridot, crystal quartz, and sterling silver and finished it with a clasp using a Creekmore-Durham glass button. It will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon, along with four other necklaces I've made this week.

That's it for now; after several cold, windy days we finally have nice weather, so although I'm under the weather and can't garden, outside I go for a spot of sunshine. Happy Easter to all who celebrate it!