Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Voting begins

I've entered the ArtBeads.com's challenge called "What Inspires You?" I took one of the pictures my husband took when we were in Kauai & made my first embroidered cuff necklace with it. If you have time could you please vote for me of any other that catches your attention. You can chose 5 pieces from the group. What is the prize? $500 worth of beads. You know I'm drooling over that.

I thought I'd share with you some close up pictures of this encrusted collar as it is really tough to just look at one picture and see all the things going on as I really like to fill my pieces with color, texture, and wee surprises. I originally picked these colors when Duchess from ArtBeads.com wrote to her bloggers about the Colors of Fall Design Partners. I looked at the color palette and decided to pick some colors that I feel comfortable with and then a couple things that were out of my norm. I loved the 4mm fire polish matte gold. I'd seen someone do a bracelet using fire polish around the edges, but they'd done more of a fringe type work. I thought wouldn't it look nice to have those fire polish beads snugged up against the work making it look like golden stones ready to bounce off the cliff wall? Then the gilt lined goldenrod beads were such a surprise. I didn't think they'd work in with the greens and browns, but that little bit of gilt just sets everything off when looked at from a distance. The challenge was the delicas. I usually don't use delicas in my bead embroidery, but I'd taken a class with Sherry Serafini last year, and she always cages her main cabochons with delicas. It took me awhile to get it done as those little things are tough to see. I actually thought about getting a pair of cheaters to complete this, but finally, finally, I was able to get the second row of peyote to work. I finished the actual collar itself, but it was so bland, so I looked around to find something to add to it and there was this square stitched lizard that I'd done last month, but didn't have anything to use it with. It was perfect as it reminded me of the little lizards skittering around the ferns there on the Napali coast.

I also jumped into my stash of Byzantium treasures to work on this piece. I used the last of my salmon lined peridot seed beads (have to find someone who has more of these) and all the green margharites that I used for flash and bling. My hardest part with all of this project, and I'm still not thrilled with the outcome was the rope that is used as the necklace piece. I've torn that part up at least three times. I wanted a smooth even flow from the actual collar to the toggle. I think adding the three braided ropes to the herribone neck piece helped, but it still seems a little skimpy to me. I had to give up as the deadline was due, but my next project I'll have to concentrate on how to get the flow down right.

On another note. My husband is still ill from his surgery. He is having trouble eating. He's lost 19 pounds in 3 weeks. Now on me, that would be fabulous, but he was thin to begin with. Don't think we'll have any Thanksgiving meal here as cooking food makes him nauseous. I might have to just show up at my brother's house with a begging bowl out for hot food. One good thing I've found out...Wendy's has changed their french fries...oh yes, I've been eating a Wendy's a lot.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Inspires you? Beading contest

Chris finally felt well enough this afternoon and the Sun was briefly out for him to take some pictures of the piece I have been working on for the Artbeads.com beading contest: What Inspires you? The picture I used for inspiration was one that Chris took while we were on vacation in Kauai. We loved the Napali Coastline from both from the waterline (Captain Andy's tour) to a leisure drive to the end of the road. Most people were content just to stand at the viewing point and snapping pictures, but we are never the kind to just let someone else dictate what a "perfect" view was, so we hiked a little way down the trail making use to #1, keep our mouths closed as every step was one more fantastic view that made our jaws drop & we didn't want to trip, and # 2 again with the fantastic views we had to make sure we didn't walk off the trail and slide down the mountain side. Then looking up we saw the mist climbing down the slopes engulfing us in a surreal world of color and scents. We happened upon this scene with wild growing ferns perched upon the edge of the mountain. Chris took many pictures while I admired the creatures scurrying around the base of the plants.

At home, I decided to try my hand at a big beaded collar. I've never done one successfully before and usually gave up, but this time that picture just haunted me. After ordering beads from Artbeads.com's Blogger promotion, I worked on this piece by piece until I was ready to put it all together. I liked it, but the actually neck piece roping was too flimsy for a large piece of bead embroidery, so I did a little tinkering by twisting three strung ropes together making the visual trip from the collar to the toggle more gradual. It worked, I think. So here is the list of the beads that I used from Artbeads.com. I added in a few more of my own including all the Delicas to complete the lizard.

DB0507 Lovely Delicas in Rose/Green/Gold
GCRD-OAM A beautiful Cabochon dangling from the main collar
TBRD8-514F Scrumptious Raku Bronze Plum size 8 seed beads
TBRD11-2110 Wonderful gilt lined goldenrod beads in size 11 and 8
FPSMAME-GDR4 and all framed with these delicious 4mm matte firepolish beads

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I receive the cab/seed beads/fire polish above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

sigh....it will be better

I'm just having one of those kind of months. Lots of things going on around my house, but nothing that I really want to blog about until today. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my husband had surgery to remove a Diverticulum of the Esophagus back on Election Day. He was in the hospital for 4 days for that. I took a FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) so that I could be with him & help him out. Where I work at how that works is that since the FMLA is not for me, I have to use my vacation time for days I need to be off. If I run out of vacation time, then I have to do a not pay...whoa! Can't do that! So Chris did well from surgery & it seems he kept hearing "rare" and "large" from all the interns and residents who came into his room. He was also told that the surgical gallery was full since the surgeon was going to do these three procedures laproscopical. He recovered & came home. But then last Tuesday morning he calls me at work with intense nausea & vomiting. I rushed home & took him back to the hospital where he'd had the surgery. He stayed another 4 days with IVs and anti nausea drugs. He was released with more pills than my Grandfather use to keep on the dinner table (inside joke there as he had them all on a lazy Susan). Most of the time they work, but he's in such misery with the "dry heaves" even if he smells the dog food. One resident told him it might be the Vagus nerve was disturbed. The Surgeon said it would get better, but still coming on 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery, and Chris is still very weak. He is slowly and I should say extremely slowly is getting better, but he can barely go from chair to bed. He is eating when not gagging, but he's only able to eat soft foods and Ensure. Last night he called me at work & said he dreamed he was eating an egg and bacon sandwich..then asked if that was a sign he was getting better. I have no idea, but I think so.

Meanwhile, I've been in a sort of daze. It really gives me a new outlook on what living with an extremely ill person is like. I really now want to give out a big hug to those who live with invalid individuals and are their support and caregivers. I know this will eventually pass & I shouldn't be feeling so sorry for myself as there are so many women, men, children, and parents who do this 24/7 without complaining or selfish thoughts. Never until you've been in a situation where you are the sole caregiver can you understand the selfish dedication to all those others out there.

My dogs are very upset too. They can't figure out why "Dad" can't come outside with them, or sit on the floor and play with them, or walk them, or sometimes not able to even have them sit in the chair with him. So they too are looking at me for comfort and support. Oh, they've had a streak of "badness" too...guess I've got to get the carpet cleaning company out here. You think about it, dogs do know the mood of people and if they are upset then that just through pure osmosis goes into the dogs' pyschie and makes them miserable. I feel for them too and need to get them out for at least a longish play in the back yard.

People at work are very understanding when I tell them that I've got to leave at 6am to let the dogs out & feed them since Chris can't. And all the people who've sent me messages via Facebook these past 2 weeks have been great. My Mother has been the best as she is on the phone when I need to talk to her. She took care of my Grandfather when he was dying and thought a very tiny woman, she's got big shoulders for me. My sister calls almost every day. My brothers call to see if we need anything. My friends e-mail me. I'm not alone even though at times I just feel so...but that is short lived & passes.

Have I been creating? Yes. I've actually made three big necklaces, two pin cushions, and a doll for our Christmas exchange...but my photographer has been ill so no pictures. I really should learn to use the cameras for close up shots...oh well...my photographer is on the mend.

So thank you all who've written me or tolerated my long silence. It will get better. Oh and on a funny note...of all holidays for me to get off at the hospital, I got Thanksgiving! No turkey will be roasting around here...maybe some potato soup, but nothing good & fattening. Wonder if I sneak out & head to the hospital cafeteria, if I can get something? Hum...idea!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More about Shelbyville

More stories about Shelbyville Kentucky and my trip last weekend there with some very amazing artist. I think if you took all the talent in that hotel for just that weekend it would be brighter than an exploding Star. I couldn't believe my eyes with all the fantastic sculpted heads and the embroidered faces were just amazing. Everyone brought boxes of fabric to work with and even that made my head just whirl. I got to see some work from Judy a wonderful quilt artist from Canada. Then there were pictures of work and did I say there were some amazing jewelry there too. Doll makers do like the bling bling of jewelry too.

One afternoon, I went to lunch with Susie, Linda (who sat across the table from me) and Peggy who I met many years ago at AFIC & then EDAC. Annie had told us about this fantastic restaurant in downtown Shelbyville called the Science Hill Inn. We were told it only served from 11 am until 2:30 so we hussled to find the place. WOW! is all I can say. It was in an old Victorian brick building that had galleries inside. We walked into the dining room and instantly it was like I was transported back to the 1950s. White linen table clothes were on every table covered with an assortment of china and glass. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling and in a few tables were groups of women dressed to the hilt. There the four of us were, some still having left over paint on our shirts (me!). The staff were all dressed in black. The women had white aprons with a white maid's cap. The men all had white shirts and black coat tails with black bow ties. We were seated in such an elegant environment, that all of us realized we were a bit under dressed & prepared for this event. For event it truly was. Our waiter was the most fascinating man. He smiled all the time presenting us with menus and telling us the history of the Inn. He then very proudly told us that he'd worked there for 37 years. Then the food started to arrive even before we'd ordered.

This is the bread basket. It was the most delicious breads and corn fritters I'd ever had. Susie tried one of the fritters and beamed back a big smile. Everyone enjoyed ordering things from the menu that you would be hard pressed to find in Columbus Ohio or even New York City. I had heard about this dish called the Hot Brown for years. My friend Kate grew up in Kentucky but now living in New Jersey constantly has given me grief over not trying this dish when I was in Lexington. So I thought, I'd finally be able to tell her enough with the" you gotta eat this when in Kentucky" speech. How was it, you ask??? Delicious is the word. From every mouth of cheesy cheese sauce to the turkey hidden under all that cheese sauce I felt my mouth gasping with pure enjoyment. Kate, you are so right...yes, I admit...you are! It was wonderful. The only thing I felt bad about was that I didn't have room for desserts...oh! and we were late for class by an HOUR, but who cares...we had the teacher.

One more thing about Kentucky food that I'd pass on to you. We had people from every point of the globe at our small conference. Several of the women constantly complained that everything was fried. In unison one dinner, four of us said...you're in Kentucky...what did you expect??? To me it was pure and simple comfort food from my childhood. Fried and hot is what was at our dinner tables almost every single night...and it was delicious and taste good and did I say it tasted! Some places I've traveled, I've had the dish of the region...some are wonderful, but most are blah bland. But I guess growing up with a family from Southern Ohio where corn is plentiful, every thing either is fried or covered in rich gravy, and there ain't no counting of calories. And yes...I picked up my accent that weekend. I sounded like a native in Kentucky. Not hard considering Portsmouth where my family is from is "spittin" distance. I am going to try to let my Appalachian accent die down for now. I really need to stop the "you'all".

I did spend some of my free time working on my Inspiration necklace for Artbeads. I finished it a couple days ago, but after wearing it, I didn't like the straps so...I...cut...them...off! and am starting again. Don't know if I'll make the deadline, but as Chris said "an Artist sometimes has to destroy to create". But, yes...I did cringe.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big week

Here this week has passed by so fast, and I haven't even written one word about how crazy it all was. Really though it has been more of a 12 day experience. Whew. It all started off with my working 6 days in a row to get last weekend off. You know, I'm really getting tired of working so many weekends in a row just to get a couple days off, but I work in a hospital and you gotta do what you gotta do...or maybe. Last Tuesday, I had to go to my cousin's wife's viewing at the funeral home. She wasn't even 50 years old. She'd had cancer for several years and all of a sudden, she got worse and passed away. My cousin, Steve, was so stoic, but I knew he hurt so bad inside. One good thing is that the whole football team from Westerville Central (where he coaches) came in to give him support. Everyone was just in tears. Then I rushed off to work where it was extremely busy. When Fall hits, everyone also hits the Emergency Room. I tried to leave before 6 am on that Wednesday, but no doing.

I slept four hours and then got up to head out to the MM&M conference in Shelbyville Ohio. I had to pick up my four riders before we left. I picked up Susie McMahan at Linda Apple's house first. Susie & I had briefly talked last year when she was here visiting from Tasmania at AFIC. Susie is a fabulous artist. She makes the most beautiful figures using paper clay and paints. Her figures faces are just amazing. Best part, she was one of the teachers at MM&M. Then we picked up Janet (my fellow Guilded Lily sister). Janet piled the back end of the Element with many bags filled with supplies, food, and more supplies. Janet is always prepared! On our way to pick up Cyndy, we got a call from Cyndy wondering where we were. I told Janet to tell her we forgot and were down the road at a restaurant having lunch. Even I could hear the "WHAT?" and burst out laughing. Next thing I know, we are at Cyndy's house. She comes out and looks at the loaded Element shaking her head. I just told everyone to go inside, have a drink & I'd do my magic thing. I can pack just like my Grandpa. So everyone inside with all our stuff and off to Kentucky.

We'd told Susie that we'd be more fun to travel with that a load of strangers on a Greyhound bus. We did not underestimate any of that. I think there wasn't a silent moment the whole way. Later, Susie said she enjoyed the conversation...we laughed & said, you mean the moaning, groaning, and constant yakking? Yeppers, Susie could be a Guilded Lily for sure. Cyndy, Janet and I got adjoining rooms. They were in one, and I in the other as no one can stand sleeping with me. I talk in my sleep and do snore. Then classes. OMG...we had the best time in Susie's class. with aluminum foil, paper clay, and paints we made lovely faces. Everyone else made sweet pretty faces. Even Cyndy working on a borg queen managed to get some pretty going strong. Me...oh come on! I can't do pretty if I tried. So I decided to just go for it and do a steampunk type of head. It took two days to finish the head. I managed to get mine done. Susie in a quick but very informative 1/2 hour gave us instructions on how to make a body for the head. She sketched on the table liner...I decided to just photograph her sketch for future use. Pictured is Janet working painting her head. She had Susie cut it in half as she is going to mount it on this amazing antique box she found. Also is Cyndy working on her BorgQueen.

Oh and I did take my little visitor from Germany with me. Here is Susie and Cutie Potato. Here is also a view of my hideous head with Anne Hesse sitting in the back ground. Funny, but I did think I took more pictures. Oh well, more later as this was a fun trip

More tomorrow. And if you follow me on Facebook, I want to thank every single one of you for all the good thoughts to me and Chris this past week when he had his surgery.