Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Where have I been?

I can't believe it's been such a very long time since I have written.  I apologize for my absence, sometimes life gets crazy you know, and things get put to the side.  Then all of a sudden your realize how many things have been pushed aside and that you need to start picking the pieces back up and getting back to your version of "normal". So here we are in 2014 in my 45th year of life, picking up and moving in a forward direction again one step at a time:)!

So what was I doing in all this time away anyway?  The list is long but I will paraphrase.
We had some big ongoing family issues involving one of my kids mental health. That for now have settled down, they were a lot to deal with for me and my family and I took a lot of destress days.  The good news is that as these issues have progressed through the years I have grown and destress days are shorter than they used to be and I recover much faster than I used to.

We had a death in the family.  On the day of the funeral my son was staying with a friend of ours, her internal defib unit malfunctioned and he was the only one there to call 911 and then call us for help.  She was shocked 18 times in a half hour and was quite sure she would die, the good news is she is fine. And my son was honored at the annual county fire convention as a hero in the county and also given the Liberty Award by our Senator.  He was embarrsed by the entire thing but we were proud of him.

Hubby had shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff in the spring, it's been a long painful recovery for him and now he may be facing another surgery as a MRI has revealed two more tears.  He has not been able to work since last May, somewhere around the time of my last blog post.

There was a major home reno going on, you know the story these things always take far longer than predicted and that ate through most our summer.  I wish I had taken before pics, unfortunately I only have progress and after pics, lol.

Then November 1 I had to take a "real"job again and have been struggling with how to fit everything in, and being angry with myself for not having focused more on my biz so that I had to take a job outside the home. Finally after three months I am starting to find a bit more balance. 

And then or course came the holiday prep and holidays, winter weather, and a baby shower for my oldest who is expecting at the end of this month.  Can't believe there is going to be a little person in this world calling me Grandma or that my husband will be a Grandpa.  It's a boy folks, and I can't wait to meet him!

Through all this I went through some huge creative dry spells or times when there jsut wasn't time and it left me feeling a little empty and not knowing why. But now I know and am back at it! If we are facebook friends you may have seen some of my recent beads there. I also had my most successful show ever this summer, that gave me the confidence to apply for bigger shows this year.


I tell you all this not for pity, or as an excuse but to say that whatever it is you are going through you can recover by putting one foot in front of the other and stepping forward.  Some days you will take half a step others you will take ten. Your things may be feel bigger or smaller than mine but we all have "things" that can change our path and throw us off course.  The point is just because you got off course it doesn't mean you have to stay off course, it's up to you change direction and find the path again.  You can do it, and if you need a cheerleader while you are taking those steps, drop me a message I'd be happy to cheer for you as you find your way back.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Torch time

I had some time at the torch this week and thought I would share what I have been working on.  Focused on lampwork this time and have some enameled pieces rolling around in my head that I need to get to very soon.  As far as the lampwork goes I have been playing primarily with sculptural shapes rather than standard round beads.  I made some rounds to and practiced and played with dots and frits, but those are not quite as exciting to see.

First up is a batch of raked or feathered hearts.  The hearts evolved after playing with it on a barrel bead and deciding it would be cool for a project I was asked to do and then evolved from there.  The pic of my hand is a sort of heart shaped burn mark that is fading.  I mildly painful reminder to make sure you pick up the glass rod you have been using to rake with by the correct end.  Purely coincidental that the burn was heart shaped when I had been working on hearts!
The largest heart in the collage is my fave!  I have mentioned before that I get all my glass from Devardi, this one has their silvery black metallic glass as the stripes.  Once I mastered getting the metallic to come out I fell in love with this glass, it reminds me of hematite.  You can see that some of the hearts slumped in the mini annealer, it may be that I put them in there a tad too hot.  Still saving up for a Chili Pepper kiln where this shouldn't be an issue. As a side note, the folks at Devardi are a dream to work with, offer affordable pricing,  carry a great assortment of colors, and always promptly answer all my newbie questions when I email them.

Next up were some more turtles and mushrooms.  These seem very fitting for a shop with the name Northwoods Creative Studio.  They seem to fit right in with my birds and owls.  Later this week I hope to tackle and master making some little foxes.
Again the black here is the silvery metallic.  I took liberties with the colors in this batch of shrooms and turtles.  The little turtle on the bottom has eyes that are a wee bit large, making him look very surprised.  The mushrooms are topped with frit also from Devardi.  I don't think it can be seen in this pic but the green shroom has a crack in the cap, I sometimes have this with my transparents, I think as a result of not getting them in the kiln quickly enough.  So, much to her delight the green shroom will be gifted to my oldest daughter.

Did a bit of wire wrapping with my shells last night.  I collected them two summers ago in FL and am getting around to using them.
I always like my work (if I don't I redo it), but I LOVE this piece and am torn as to whether or not I will be putting it up for sale.  This simplicity of this center of a conch shell and the minimal wrapping just speak to me.

While I'm very pleased with how this one turned out, I can't keep them all!  Listed this one tonite on Etsy.



Lilac
Lastly a few parting shots of the flowering shrubs at our place.  Happy spring to you all :)!
Flowering Quince

 



Friday, May 10, 2013

Recent works and weather

Sorry for the absence, the weather has been so nice here for so many days that I hadn't been on the computer much.  Everything here is growing visibly by the day and all my shrubs are in bloom.  I really need to get some pictures of those too.  But all good things come to an end, and the weather here turned rainy mid week.  That allowed time to finish some pieces up and get them listed on Etsy.  Here are a few...
 
 
 
This pile of soil was delivered to us free of charge by the guys who were excavating my neighbors new driveway.  The kids played on it for a day before we started leveling it.  Then one of the guys from the neighbor's project very kindly came and finished the job with the excavator while he was waiting for his crew to return to pick him and the equipment up.  I was thrilled because it would have taken me forever to get it all leveled.
 
Then today we had the first big windy, haily, thunderstorm of the season.  I love photographing storms!  Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any clear pictures of the almost horizontal rain.
 
 
Hail ran down our street in streams.
 
 
Tail end of the passing storm.
 
Hope you have all been up to fun stuff too :).  I even got in some torch time today!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important (reveal) date...

A Very Merry Unbirthday Party!

 
Please accept my humble apology for being so very late to this party.  Circumstances of my life last week made my brain mush and the party slipped my mind.  But enough about that, that's for a later post, let's get on with the PARTY!
 
Just what the heck is a Very Merry Unbirthday?  Well, it's a swap and hop to celebrate your birthday even if your birthday isn't in the month that we d the swap.  Make sense?  So you send your partner jewelry in her birthstone colors and she does the same.  There you have it, fun UN birthday gifts for all!
 
I am a November birthday girl and so my birthstone is topaz.  I remember as a child how much I disliked my yellow birthstone, lol.  Then somewhere in my twenties blue topaz became an acceptable alternative to the traditional yellow and I no longer hated my birthstone.  As I have aged I have learned to like the yellow topaz almost as much as the blue. 
 
My partner for this swap was the talented and very generous Renetha of Lamplight Crafts. Renetha sent me this very lovely package.  I wish I would have thought to include a card for her in the package I sent (next time I will remember to do this).  Thank you so very much for these thoughtful gifts Renetha :).
 
The gift bag contained these lovely little packages...
 
And inside those were these TWO very yummy pairs of earrings...
Don't you just love this fall colored bling?  These are have citrine drops, ruby gemstone rondelles, and those mirrory 24k gold fumed lampwork beads.
 
Pretty sure I will be wearing these blue blingies all through spring and summer!  This pair features blue topaz drops, light blue lampwork beads by Studio Jules and silver plated findings.  By the way, I have to mention I really like these earring cards too.
 
Thanks also to Shelley and Marlene for putting this all together.  And, if you weren't already aware Shelley also heads up a noble cause, JillysBeadPosse  on facebook, head on over there to see what it's all about.
 
Oh, and don't forget to visit the other participants in the hop if you haven't already! 
 
 Ali McCarthy www.northwoodscreativestudio.blogspot.com  You are here
Alicia Marinache www.allprettythings.ca
Joana Perez Stribel www.facebook.com/lasjoyasdejana
 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Hopped It!

Whew, I don't know how Lori manages to assemble this whole project, manage the people, hop all over and participate!  But we are oh so thankful that she does, because it has been a blast so far.

 I was a part of the second reveal and just finished up hopping through all the participants of this round.   Soooo much inspiration and creativity out there.  Found more people's work to admire and more blogs to follow.  A special thank you to those of you who posted the links list on your blog, made my hopping easier :).  And an even bigger, warm and heartfelt thank you to all those who left lovely comments on my reveal post and also to those who have started following me now.  I hope to start replying to those kind comments tomorrow.

I wish I could have commented on everyone's blogs, but I found myself running out of things to say and didn't want my comments to sound canned.  Please don't be offended if I haven't left a comment, my brain just got overwhelmed by designs and couldn't find anymore words. 

I started the hop on Saturday morning while I rode my stationary bike and walked the treadmill.  Amazing how long you can exercise when you are distracted by something more fun and interesting!  I will have to blog a bit about my trying to get in shape sometime in the future.  I continued hopping yesterday until Blogger wouldn't let me anyway, I was beginning to think I broke Blogger, it wouldn't let me back in.  And so I finished up throughout the day today and tonite.  I would have finished sooner, but we had a sunny, breezy, 70 degree day today so I had to spend some time outside with my hands in the dirt starting to clean up my gardens.  Oooo and my daffodils finally started blooming yesterday, I should have taken some pics of those today.  Hopefully there are still some blooming when the sun shines again, it's supposed to rain the next couple of days so we shall see.

One more reveal date to go next week for the BSBP.  I'm so hyped from all the hopping I think I will stay up and bead a bit.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

I'm so excited and honored to have been a part to the 7th Bead Soup Blop Party.  Huge hugs and thanks to our very organized, patient and kind hostess Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  You can read more about the BSBP on Lori's blog, see the link above.  This is a gigantic event to organize with over 500 participants from I don't even know how many countries.  That's is why there were three seperate reveal dates, so you would have time to visit all the fab participants.

Also a great big thank you to my swap partner April Grinaway of the Brooklyn Bead Goddess.  April sent a huge helping of yummy soup for me to work with.  She a is fanastic lampworker and sent me many of her awesome handcrafted beads.  I hope I have done at least some of them justice.  Be sure to visit Brooklyn Bead Goddess to see what she made with what I sent her.

A reminder of the spectacualr soup I got from April.
 
I know everyone has a ton of blogs they want to visit this weekend so I will try to keep the rest of my post light on text and heavy on pics.
 
The first piece incorporates the copper focal that April sent and many of her beads, along with some copper tubes I enameled in purple and added some dots of glass to.
Here is the first piece modeled by my daughter.  Aren't those hematite cones cool?
 
The second piece looks a little square when laid out but because parts of it are strung on SoftFlex it lies nicely around the wrist.  Great lampwork beads by Brooklyn Bead Goddess and also the clasp she sent.
Modeled again by my daughter.  LOVE that yellow bead, note the trapped air bubbles in the purple.
See, it's really not square like it looks on the table, lol.
 
A simple pair of earrings to go with the necklace and bracelet, or just about anything else really. 
 
 
This last piece is a bit of a "fail".  It didn't turn out as I intended or envisioned but after reworking it twice I set it aside as is.  After lots of rethinking on the concept of it's construction, I think I may have actually figured it out.  When I get it right I will post new pics of it here.  Here it is as it sits now.
 
The "circles" on the sides are not hanging in a nice circular shape as I had planned.  I think I may have a solution figured out though.  I really like this concept, so I'm not giving up on it yet :).  I love these beads by April and I vow to do them justice.  Everytime I look at or play with these beads I keep asking myself  "why don't I own any yellow beads except these?", they are really stunning.
 
Hope you rested up last night.  There is a long list of fun below, so grab a cuppa someting and get hopping :).
 
Agata Grygiel
Ali McCarthy
Alice Craddick
Amy Severino
Ana Krepel
Andra Weber
Andrea Glick
Andrea Trank
Anitra Gordy Boyers



Annette Rivers
Anu Tuppurainen
April Grinaway
Audrey Bélanger
B.R.Kuhlman
Barbara Bechtel
Barbara Mason
Becky Pancake
Beti Horvath
Billi RS Rothove



Bobbie Rafferty
Brandi Burdick
Candida Castleberry
Carol Dillman
Carolyn Gebert
Carolyn Lawson
Caron Reid
Catherine King
Cathy Jakicic



Chandra Merod
Charlene Jacka
Cheri Reed
Cherrie Fick
Cherrie Warzocha
Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Dunham
Cheryl Foiles
Cheryl Gangle



Chris Eisenberg
Chris White
Christina Miles

Christine Murrow
Cindy Ritchie
Clare Etheridge
Cory Tompkins



Cris Peacock
Cynthia Abner
Debbie Rasmussen
Debi Levine
Deborah Brooks
Deborah Read
Debra Behrends
Dorota Żerańska
Elaine Robitaille



Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
Emma Todd
Erin Guest
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
Francy Inman
Ginger Bishop
Gloria Allen
Hajer Waheed



Hope Smitherman
Ilenia Ruzza
Ilona Hegedűs
Ine Vande Cappelle
Jackie Ryan
Janine Lucas
Jean Peter
Jean Wells
Jeanne Steck



Jelveh Jaferian Johnson
Jennifer Cabic
Jennifer Reno
Jennifer VanBenschoten
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Kyrlach
Jenny Robledo
Jessica Brower
Jill MacKay



JJ Jacobs
Jo-Ann Woolverton
Joanne Tinley
Johanna Rhodes Nash
Judy Robinson
Juli Cannon
Julia Gerlach
Julie Bowen
Julie Panusis



K Hutchinson
Karen Martinez
Karen Vincent
Karen Williams
Karin Slaton
Karyn Bonfiglio
Kat Douglas
Kate Dufour
Kate Mulligan



Kate Richbourg
Kathleen Gallant
Kathleen Lange Klik
Katie Nielsen-Nunez
Kay Bolton
Kayla Potega
Kelli Jacobson
Kelly Patterson
Kelly Ramstack



Kiersten Kern
Kim Sparks
Klaudete Koon
Klaudia Tóth
Krista French
Kristin Oppold
Kym Hunter
Lana Kinney
Laura Guenther



Lauren Fenty
Leah Curtis
Lennis Carrier
Linda Murphy
Lisa Johnson
Lori Anderson
Lupe Meter
Lynn Jobber
Mandi Effron



Marcia Dunne
Margareta Saari

Marianne Baxter
Marie Covert
Mary Ellen Parker
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens
Megan Milliken
Melissa Meman
Melissa Mesara



Michaela Pabeschitz
Michelle Tucker
Mimi Gardner
Mischelle Fanucchi
Monica Phillips
Mowse Doyle
Nancy Boylan
Nancy Dale
Pat Haight



Patina Queen
Patty Miller
Pia Kaven
Rebecca Anderson
Rose Johnson
Roxanne Blanc
Sarah Goode
Sarah Singer
Sarah Strover



Shalini Austin
Sherri Stokey
Sherry Baun
Sheryl Stephens
Silvia Sernicola
Solange Collin
Stacie Florer
Stacy Alderson
Stephanie Haussler



Stephanie LaRosa
Sue Burleigh
Susan Bowie
Susan Kelly
Susan of Libellula Jewelry
Susan Sheehan
Suzanne Fragiacomo
Tammi Sloan
Tammie Everly



Tania Hagen
Tania Spivey
Tanya Goodwin
Tanya Wiles
Tari Kahrs

Theresa Buchle
Tiffany Smith
Tina Holden



Tracey Nanstad
Tracie Dean
Tracy Bell
Tracy Kruse
Veralynne Malone
Veronica Campos-Hallstrom




Facebook Participants


D’Arsie Manzella
Claire Brannigan Hasemeier
Robin Showstack
Melanie Lemen Swope
Beccy Peterson
Kelli Nelson
Chris Schlicht
Shelley Cole-Kuduk