Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I'm so happy that you've spent a few moments with my ramblings this past year.  It has been a pretty wild one for me.  I got to spend the first 6 days of 2013 as a retired person, but then started up my new job a Nationwide Children's Hospital on the 7th.  About the only thing I miss from my former employer is the 4 weeks of vacation, but I'm adjusting.  It was hard year to start with Fiona's passing after losing Frodo and Arwen in less than 6 months in 2012.  We were so lucky to add Sammy to our household in April.  He made a big change in our lives with his gentle and loving personality.

I got to spend time in San Francisco this year with some of the wildest craziest and talented bead artist I've ever known.  We shopped China Town until we dropped!  I've taken some wonderful classes at 1 Stop Bead Shop with Leslie Frazier and Tracy Stanley.  I spent a wondrous two days with Ute Vasnia at Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay letting myself just soar while making Stanley.  I developed a few new doll patterns & even was challenged by an old friend to come up with something completely new in a doll pattern.  I've reconnected with my fellow doll artist here in Columbus by now having every weekend off with my new job.  I was able to get together with fellow Ohio Beaders after an 8 year hiatus which felt like no time has passed at all. 

I've gotten to review some wonderful books from Lark Craft that has really helped me develop and challenge my bead weaving skills.  I even broke through the peyote block after reviewing Diane Fitzgerald's latest book. 

I've beaded, I've sewn, I've painted.  I walked the dog.  I even fused some glass.  It has been a very full year.  I don't make resolutions as I'm the first to break them.  So instead, I'm looking forward to 2014 and expect it to be as exciting and challenging a year as 2013. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lark Book Giveaway: Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects

Dixie Hamilton! 
Random Number Generator chose you!
I'll be sending you an e-mail to get your mailing information.
Thank you to everyone who commented. 

 I'm going to be giving away one copy of Jamie Cloud Eakins' book Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects: Design And Construction, Ideas and Inspiration.  Lark Craft generously donated one copy to me so that I can share my delight with Jamie's book with you.  I've been using this book since the very first time I opened the package and dived in head first.  I've learned so much from the book, and actually began to look at some of my previous necklaces to see if I could change their design to make them more stable and physically appealing.  Jamie has really made me go into a tail spin with new ideas and indeed more inspiration.  Click HERE to see my review on Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects.

I am going to be giving away one copy to one person who leaves a comment on this blog post.  You need to make sure I have a way to contact you to get shipping information from you.  I have chose my birthday January 4th to be the date of the choosing of the winning name.  Please check back here on January 4th to see if you are the lucky recipient of Jamie's newest book.  Don't worry if you don't see your comment show up immediately as I have my blog comments set up so that I myself have to approve them after being spammed once.  Thank you for you patience.

After reading Jamie's book, I took apart a necklace I made in August 2012 after my Grandmother's Death.  The necklace was named Awake in the Dragon's Lair.  Here is a picture of what the necklace looked like back in 2012:

And here is a picture of Dragon's Lair after reconfiguring the component pieces and working on making the piece more stable and not twisting and turning all the time

Of course, now I am bound to complete other necklaces after being influenced by Jamie's book and have even gotten out older projects wondering how I can construct them into a better configuration while not disturbing the original design.  This is the next group of beads that are on my beading board:
I actually as of today gotten most of the component pieces completed and now am arranging and rearranging them trying to get my Muse to tell me that the design is first off doable and second off strong enough to support the weight.  Join me back on the 4th to see my progress and to also see if You are the lucky one to win Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products from Lark Books, I receive the book 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 Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

From our house in wintery Columbus Ohio to your house where ever you are enjoying the Holiday.

Daddy and Grandpa are always on my mind at  Christmas. We miss them.

I can't remember who made this for us, but I can't believe our Retreat was back in 2004

My old homemade ornaments with some Scottie flare

When I bought this ornament it reminded me of all us kids singing Christmas carols.  I bet my Mom still has ear aches.

This one reminded me of FalaPink

A dear friend gave this to me years ago.  I believe it is a Radko

Made 20 years apart. Guess I've always been drawn to beads

My two Scottie angels.

I just found this in a box.  I had forgotten all about it.  It has other pieces to it.  Hand painted and MADE IN OHIO

My dear friend Pam made this Christmas Tree doll.

Have a Happy New Year

Dot Chris & Sammy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dot's Book case: Diane Fitzgerald

 Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork & Beyond

Have you ever experienced a mental block?  I'm sure you have. We are human and sometimes this phenomenon disrupts our happy go lucky life.  I must be very human as I've had many of these.  What is a "mental block" you say?  Here is one definition from Wikipedia:

A mental block is either a repression of painful thoughts, or an inability to continue a train of thought, like in the case of writer's block. A similar phenomenon occurs when one cannot solve a problem in mathematics which one would normally consider simple. In the case of writer's block, many find it helpful to take a break and revisit their topic. Another tactic that is used when people with mental blocks are learning new information is repetition. Mental blocks can be caused by physical disabilities or simply a lack of focus. Mental blocks are also often used to describe a temporary inability to recall a name or other information.[1]

 My mental block has been with the bead stitch peyote.  I've taken many classes with so talented teachers hoping that the intense focus of class would help me get over my mental block to enjoy and embrace peyote stitch.  I CAN do peyote, but it does not come naturally for me.  I stumble, I focus, and then I just find myself putting it aside.  I tell myself "oh it is years of doing cross stitch and viewing charts that are straight up and down instead of charts and angles".  I've tried tools to help me read charts.  I've bought patterns with word descriptions along with the charts.  And finally, I've just told myself "I CANNOT do this".  I gave up and politely find myself struggling with peyote stitch while other stitches just come naturally to me.  I've had friends and teachers scratch their heads as they see me doing peyote and wonder why I can't learn to just relax and just enjoy it as much as they do.  It is a block and nothing can make me feel relaxed and successful doing peyote stitch.

That is until NOW.  What has broken through the block and made my fingers dance and twirl as I construct intricate designs with peyote stitch?  A book has been my driven through the block and let in the bright creative light behind the sculpted peyote stitch.  Diane Fitzgerald's latest master piece has been that tool that has given me the insight and joy of being able to understand, appreciate and enjoy peyote stitch.  Diane's newest book, Shaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote Stitch by Lark Jewerly and Beading, has opened up a new world of sculpting and creating pieces of art that before I'd only pushed away due to my thinking I could not understand it.  I embrace this book and am working my way through the projects learning and enjoying each and every chapter.  

I've decided to do something a little different with my newest book review and show my own work of her projects.  It is still slow going as I have to constantly push back that nagging voice that tells me I'm going to fail.  So I just push that voice back and push on discovering that I can.  Shaped Beadwork and Beyond's chapters take me closer with each project built upon the other and then expanding for more dimensional peyote challenges.  The book starts out with understanding the basics then moves on to succeeding with Triangles, Teardrops, Beaded Beads, Bezels, Pointed Ovals, and then to a combination of Potpourri.  Each chapter and project has excellent bead diagrams and written word instructions to help succeed in completing the work.  If you follow me on my Facebook page you will have already seen some of these projects and my joy in learning them and conquering my block.  

I first learned to make triangles and zipped them together

This project is from the Bezels chapter and Pointed Ovals
After feeling confident in making triangles and peyote bezels, I went on to create the Temari beaded bead and create a little fun sparkly flower.

A close up view of half a Temari beaded bead with peyote bezel to create a flower type structure

My version of the Eye to Triangle Necklace piece using techniques in the Pointed Oval chapter and the Bezel chapter.  I actually had a friend on Facebook tell me this looks like something a Star Fleet officer would wear (you have to be a Trekkie to get this).

Here is two of the Pointed Oval projects on my beading board.  The blue pointed ovals are from the Pirate Eye Bracelet turned into a necklace.

Each of these projects have made me feel so confident that I can really say I'm over my mental block with peyote.  I haven't mastered this stitch, and I still have so many more projects to attempt and succeed, but I know now that I CAN do this with Diane's book on my work table being my go to book and Muse in learning to master and enjoy peyote stitch.  Theses next are projects that I have on my to do list. 

Diane taught this at 1 Stop Bead Shop in Dublin.   Because I was so afraid of Peyote, I did not take this class when I had the opportunity to learn it from Diane, but now I KNOW I can do this after completing the other projects and throwing over my mental block.  

I'm amused now that I actually think in peyote.  Imagine that?  My brain has decided to throw out the block and embrace the intricate patterns and projects that can only be accomplished with needle, thread, and peyote.   Next time I see Diane anywhere, I'm going to give her the biggest smile and thank you for helping me break off the yoke of "I CANNOT do this".  I'm not done with this book and a journey of discovering and creating with sculpted peyote.  I can't wait to see what I can do now that I have a firm grip on this stitch.  

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products from Lark Books, I receive the book 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 Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sammy gets snow

First off I have to say that it IS SNOWING here in Central Ohio. This is our second big snow storm of the Fall.  I look out the windows watching the big flakes coming down and thinking to myself how pretty it is. That is until I leave for work at 10:30 PM and drive south on the Interstate 71 towards downtown Columbus with all the trucks zipping past me on ice covered pavement.  Thank goodness I have 4WD or else I would be a nervous wreck.  So I got to thinking to myself why are we getting so much snow so early this year.  Then I realized after looking at pictures of Sammy Doodle that it is his fault.

He has been dreaming of snow since the leaves began to fall.

And to make the Snow Fairies bring his wish, he sacrificed one of his stuffed toys scattering woobie guts all over the floor to appease the Fairies. 

He survived his first professional haircut over at Worthington Woods and was so pleased to prance around the neighborhood with his Da in tow.

But still, he dreams of Snow.  And who could resist this adorable face? 

He got his wish.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Old Friends

Long ago when I first started to get into beading, I found a newly started Yahoo Group called Ohio Beaders.  I joined and was just amazed at all the talented jewelry artist from all over the Great State of Ohio.  Now don't quote me on the date as I'm losing my ability to remember how long ago that was, but I'm thinking this all was somewhere in the 2002-2003 timeline.  They had get together all over the State where I got to met in person the people I exchange communications online with.  We realized that we all had something in common even though some of us like me fell under the thrall of seed beads, while others were drawn to metal.  Through this group, I met artist who encouraged me to develop my limited at the time skills and push the envelope.  Cassandra Graham was the first person who taught me how to do bead embroidery at a meeting somewhere in Eastern Ohio.  And then I met my very good friend Sharon Hessoun through a mishap with crystals and gravel in Waldo Ohio.  Each person made me laugh and ponder the meaning of taking the artist walk. 

Then around 2005-2006 when I changed jobs and was stuck working almost every weekend, I wasn't able to go to any get together. About this same time, I became enmeshed is doll making and all my time was absorbed in that too.  Little by little, I stopped reading digest from Ohio Beaders Yahoo Groups, then stopped beading anything in general as my life became more complicated due to my unhappiness with my job and other life's stones thrown on my road.  Imagine my surprise, when I found the Ohio Beader's Group on Yahoo.  I was intrigued to see if anyone I still might remember were there...and yes they were.  Mary & Kim & Diva Kim & Tanya & Helen & Cheryl and others I'd met at retreats and gatherings.  Kim was in charge of the Christamas Gathering which was to be in Columbus.  Now that I have every weekend off courtesy of my new employer, I decided to attend.  I hadn't attended anything since 2008-2009, but it was like coming home.  Instantly there was the warmth and friendship of long lost friends who welcome you back without a mention that you'd strayed.  It was a magical day filled with beads, mishaps, and just plain ole fun.  I'm so happy I stumbled back into the fold.  Hello old friends...nice to met you...again.