Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude, Rose Petals and Mud Balls

Hello all,
I know this is a busy week as well as a time of reflection for many.

I have found that for me, reflecting on my experiences, even those that are sad or painful, is good for me.  To sort it all out and really think about how something has affected my life, helps me to either appreciate the great aspects of an event or if it's something sad, it helps with the healing process.  I have had such a busy year that I haven't done as much of that as I should have.  Which of course means that I find myself doing it now.  Bear with me, please.  I know that I seldom write about personal stuff.  Just not my style. Well, other than grill wrestling and fossil wrangling.  And I may rethink and delete all of this, but for now, here goes.....

These are my reflections of the last few weeks.  As I think back on my year of transition in a new state, a new home, with everyone I meet being a new acquaintance, new places and completely unknown to me-cultural references, I find myself longing for familiar places and people.  I'm certainly not meaning to diminish the many wonderful things and people I've discovered here in Texas.  Especially lately, though, each time I walk into the room which would have been my dad's room when he came to stay with us, as was planned, my heart aches anew.  I don't believe I've mentioned that one of the main reasons we chose this particular house,  is because there is a room here perfectly suited to his needs.  And the reason we're in the state of Texas, (as opposed to choosing the other option we had at the time) is because my dad lived just a few hours away.  So that we could be close.  How easy to transition him into his inviting room with a sunny sitting area where he could have watched the birds flitting about.  The perfect window to catch a glimpse of the hummingbirds and butterflies on their favorite bushes right outside those windows.  It would have been ideal for him in so many ways.   As the year anniversary of my father's passing approaches this Thursday,  I think more often of the whirlwind of activities a year ago.  How hopeful and excited we were at the prospect of finally living near him again.  The mad race to get the house painted and ready so that we could move in.   The enormous exhaustion we felt at the thought of unpacking all of our boxes and setting everything up.  That morning, on our way to the house, we had stopped at the store to pick up milk so we would have something to drink at the house as we unpacked.  While we were at the store, that's when we got the call.  Sadly, my dad never saw this house.  It seemed such a cruel twist that he passed away the very next day after we got all of the boxes and stuff to the house.  Before we had a chance to get it ready for him.  As the days of this week take me back to this same time a year ago, the sheer missing those that I've lost, creeps in at unexpected moments.   I am thankfully, reminded of one of my favorite sayings.

"Pain and suffering are inevitable.  Misery is a choice"

 I don't know who wrote these wise words but I often repeat them to myself when the feelings of sadness invade.   We all have a story about when our personal heartbreaks happened.  We all have mountains we are climbing in our own lives.  Big hurdles.  Whatever our mountains are, they are situations that challenge us.  I continue as many of us strive to do, to live a life of gratitude each and every day, despite the problems I may encounter.  To focus on the blessings and not the struggles or losses.  To choose happiness and by so doing, to squeeze every bit of beauty that I can out of a day.  Because each day of life is truly a gift.  It might not always turn out as I expected, but it can still be the best joy-filled life I can imagine.  A wonderful and amazing life filled with hope no matter what surprises I encounter along the way.  So my friends, whatever hand life deals to you, my sincere hope is that your happiness will be abundant and your sorrows few.

Whoa...didn't mean to go waxing poetic on you.    See what happens when I reflect?!  Ack!

I know, I know, you came for pretty pictures.  Hahahahaha.  They're coming.  Lots of pictures- though you'll have to decide if you think they are pretty or not.
So this week, I'm sneaking in a quick (yeah right) post.   Shall I get to it?

Hmmm let's see...what's new since last post?  Alot!  Autumn (winter?)  has arrived in Texas.

There might be a few blossoms stubbornly clinging to the rose bushes, but not many.  
We did have ice pellets yesterday, after all.  
Which don't compare to the "dagger-like drops of rain" that accompany hurricanes in Florida.  
Right Bond Girl?  You know what I'm talking about.  
ALL the weathermen tell you to "hunker down"
during the storm and then get all dramatic about the dangerous rain drops.  
You know they do. Part of the job description, I think.

A few people have sent me pictures of the castings they've made using the technique outlined in my 
Metal Casting tutorial.
I am delighted when you guys take the time to do this.

By Cheeky Magpie
why yes, that is a cast hummingbird skull.  Too cool!
You'll see my version a bit later.  They look quite different.
If you prefer a nice smooth finish like she has achieved here,
do what she does...
you can ever so quickly polish your castings with a quick kiss of the flame from a torch.
Gotta be quick or at best you'll lose detail and at worst, you might melt your casting.

These are by the talented Kristi Bowman.
Urchins and ammonites....her trademark and favs of mine too!
Notice the casting that looks like she foldformed it?
So very clever!

The next ones are by Melinda from Bees on Pie.

Oh my goodness....Fleur de lis, hands, roses, birds...
she achieved amazing detail and all of the castings she made are wonderful!!


It's always exciting to see what you make.
Even more so when I see that you guys seem to enjoy the same designs as much as I do,
yet all of our work is uniquely our own..
Thank you for sharing your photos with us.

Speaking of tutes, by now you are probably all aware of pipnmolly's new tutorial.
In case you aren't.....

Hmmm, don't know why the title got cut off.
It all about soldering tin to make those beautiful tin beads Tracy uses in some of her earrings.
And tin bangles, and tin components.
So if you ever wondered how she does it or wanted to know how to make them yourself..
grab yourself this fabulous tutorial.
Lots of helpful tips and step by step photos.
So many design possibilities and it looks like fun!

I also ran across these interesting things the other day....

 From the etsy shop- EJR Beads.
They dissolve.  Then they disappear.
Scratching your head wondering why you would want to dissolve beads you just paid for?
Here's why...
They are used to form hollow poly clay beads around the dissolvable form.  
After making and baking your poly clay beads, 
you soak them and pull out the little bits of fiber that might remain.
Viola!  Hollow beads.
How cool is that?!

and now
here's what I've been up to....

My oldest daughter has done such a beautiful job creating her own website,
as well as editing and formatting my tutorials, 
that we decided to see what she could do about updating my website.

All I can say is 
 I am beyond delighted with what she's done.
Complete with moving pictures. .I Know!!!
Well lacking Flash, they don't actually move in their nifty slideshow on my ipad or iphone, 
so there's also some still photos for those gadgets.
Yes, you're absolutely correct.
She didn't get her tech skills from me.
But boy, she has some impressive tech skills ....links and everything!
It doesn't just look great, it's fully functional.
As in, I can update it myself!  
Happy dance.
Please check it out and let us know what you think.

 and finally....
here's those pictures I promised earlier.
Most appear without what has become my usual listing descriptions, 
because that monumental task hasn't been done yet.....
and because I'm feeling too lazy to do the copying and pasting for those that are already listed.

No, no ,no.
What am I saying?
NOT lazy. It's exhaustion from all this making.

Bluhealer lampwork beads and Scorched Earth beauties

Sterling and Bluhealer beads

 Numinosity uber long headpins, Havana Beads headpins, 
Debbie Sanders lampwork, fossil mammoth bone, tektite

Roller printed aluminum, soldered wreaths, sterling and apatite nuggets

Roller printed aluminum, Bluhealer, Scorched Earth

Kingman turquoise, Bluhealer, Scorched Earth

Bison teeth,  glass eye headpins and upcycled tin shields

Vintage mother of pearl, silver embellished coin purse, rhinestones, vintage components
and various pretty black and white stones necklace.

The coin purse opens to a striking red leather (?) interior.

My version of a cast hummingbird skull paired with faceted rubies, a vintage buckle, vintage tintype,
coin pearls, rhinestones, vintage mesh beads and sterling.

Foldformed focal piece with Bluhealer ammonite beads, and stone beads.

Roman glass, Bluhealer, copper barbells and sterling

Vintage mother of pearl buttons, hand connectors, vintage mesh beads and
vintage silver filigree.

Hessonite, turquoise, coral, chrysocolla and Scorched Earth

Assemblage, secret compartment necklace.  You name it, it's in here....
a vintage bird brooch,  a wire bird nest, freshwater pearl eggs, mother of pearl blossoms,
a lampwork blossom by Victorian House, czech glass, hand-dyed silk, rhinestones...
what am I forgetting?

a cold enamel bird, rosary style quartz chain.....

The art deco style secret compartment.
This is how it opens so you can hide your tiniest treasures inside.

Watchhands, Scorched Earth, hand-dyed silk ribbon wrapped metal wreaths.

Scorched Earth red and black hearts from her "Alice" series, 
bullet casings, hand-dyed silk ribbon, ivory acrylic roses

Kingman turquoise and Scorched Earth

I've re-worked these lace and Scorched Earth nail earrings.
I added lustrous mother of pearl teardrops, faceted crystals and smoky grey teardrops.

Vintage etched brass with patinated brass stampings, 
Scorched Earth droplets glazed in wonderful mottled green,
vintage green headpins, hand-dyed silk ribbon and czech glass.

Vintage carved peach pit baskets (I love these charming bits of folk art),
vintage silver filigree, Bluhealer lampwork beads.
One basket is a bit larger than the other so let's call these assymetrical, shall we?

Stamped and oxidized brass, Scorched Earth spikes in scrumptious shades of greyish blue,
Lampwork beads by Bluhealer and hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Sterling silver, etched and oxidized copper, roller printed aluminum
and porcelain, platinum glazed droplets by Scorched Earth.

Incised spikes by Scorched Earth dangling from
hammered and soldered copper rings.

Vintage patterned brass with hints of red and green,
with a croc glazed spike from Scorched Earth hanging beneath an arc of
raw brass.  They look to me like they have a bit of an ancient vibe.

Stamped and oxidized brass, patinated brass stamping, a copper barbell
and red, black and white sticks from Scorched Earth.

Vintage sewing bobbins embellished with text, glass eye headpins,
ceramic discs and vintage metal vessel beads.

Mercury glass, lampwork discs by Debbie Sanders and mismatched headpins by Havana Beads.

The most gorgeous keishi pearls I have been able to get my hands on.  These have an
amazing luster and the sweetest cupped shape.
Paired with sterling silver and wee soft white freshwater pearls.
Oxidized to a soft matte greyish-black to compliment the white luster of the pearls.

Simple and rustic.  Roman glass paired with porcelain pods by Scorched Earth.

This picture doesn't do justice to the colors in these earrings.  
Multi hued ceramic drops by Scorched Earth, textured aluminum with a streak of multi metal foiling 
that compliments the colors of the drops, all framed by multi wire hoops.
Adorned by a single butterscotch rhinestone.
Oxidized to a deep brownish-black and sealed.

Yummy faceted ruby teardrops, roman glass and sterling.

From rubies to.....

Septarian nodules (fossilized mud balls with crystals formed in cracks within),
magnesite teeth beads in multi wire hoops.

and a necklace to match...

This larger nodule sports a drop embellished with a fossil mammoth bone bead.
The double strand brass chain fastens in the front with a vintage mother of pearl clip.

Like so.......

Last but not least.....

Treasure necklace.
Brass filigree, vintage lace, hand-dyed silk ribbon, rhinestone wreaths,
a vintage rhinestone embellished button, onyx teardrop,
lampwork headpin by Havana Beads, vintage twisty pearls,
a double peanut pearl with a soft blush of subtle pink.........

with a small metal receptacle for your precious treasures.

Almost forgot to mention that I'm having a sale in the Attic.
15% off anything over $8.00 until December 8, 2013.
Just apply this discount code at checkout: (all capital letters)
And that brings us to the conclusion of this going and going and just keeps on going, 
seems like it will never end post.
Yeah, I know, if I didn't let so many weeks go by between posts.....
They could be more manageable.
Naw....don't you remember?
I'd still fill it with pictures.
Lots and lots of pictures.
It would just be more often.

Hoping you all have a wonderful few weeks until we meet again.

("enjoy" in French)