Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Art of Awareness Blog Hop

Good day and thanks for joining me (on my very neglected blog) for The Art of Awareness Blog Hop hosted by the lovely and talented Lori Anderson of Pretty Things and Heather Wynn Millican of swoondimples. I was excited when Lori announced that she and Heather were collaborating on this hop. Lori, as many of you may know, is very well known for putting together fabulous bead soup swaps. I've been honored to participate for a number of years and have had such a good time, each and every time. I've made some lovely internet friends through this experience. Lori has been battling the devastating disease, Lyme Disease, for the last few years. It can be completely debilitating. She's shared her struggles with her internet friends and I honestly can't begin to imagine living through the debilitating issues she's enduring. She is a fighter though, and consistently tries to look for the good and the bright side. Lori, I applaud you for your strength and courage! Heather is a talented artist who makes artisan polymer clay beads and components; she has a very unique, identifiable style. I own a couple and was very excited to get my custom component from her for this hop.

Organ donation awareness is extremely important to me and my family. If you've read my blog before you're well aware of our hero, our beautiful T.J. If you're not, I have a page about him, take a look if you have a few minutes. We lost our beautiful boy eleven years ago last Saturday, only that day it was Mother's Day. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury a few days before; he was 19. There was no hope of recovery for him - not one that was any kind of life. T had registered to be an organ donor when he earned his drivers' license the fall prior to his death. Through T.J.'s heroic gift of life 5 people who were dying because they were in need of major organs are alive; 2 people who were going blind can see; countless others have benefited from his bone and tissue donations. There are so many people on waiting lists for organ donation. Please, if you haven't considered becoming a donor previously become one now. We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful boy, but we are profoundly proud of the fact that in his death he was able to help so many people - to give them a second chance. How many happy families are there out there that he has impacted? We'll probably never know, but it does our hearts and souls good to know that he lives on, not only in our hearts and minds, in such a profound way.
Above are some components in progress. I can't even look at that beautiful piece of amethyst sea glass - I broke it trying to put jam a too thick, curved piece of wire through it..... 
Well, if you're still with me (thank you for indulging me) let's get on with the hop! I asked Heather to create a "donate life" stick for me in green for organ donation. The current colors for donate life awareness are a very bright green and blue. The bright green isn't my thing. When T passed, it was a dark green (I've actually worn a dark green awareness bracelet, every day, for the past eleven years), so I opted for a color in-between that I'd like to wear often. I love the stick, it's perfect!
Attached to it is a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority token that I've had forever and ever. I think that big, prominent T is just perfect attached to the donate life stick.
 The 3 sweet flower bezels are from Tracy Bell of Copper, Glass and Recycled Trash. Tracy makes the best stuff! I've had these bezels for the longest time, waiting for just the right project. I filled them with green and brown sea glass tinies and I crushed a piece of mussel shell for the third. I love the colors. However, when the resin was added a bit of the detail was lost and it makes the green and brown glass look like a solid transparent lump and the mussel shells darken (which I knew they would, but I didn't think they would so much - I took this pic in sunlight so you could see the colors). Bummer...
I've also used vintage lucite cubes from The Beadin' Path (boy do I miss that shop...), vintage mother of pearl buttons I picked up at Tinsel Trading in NYC (oy, what an amazing place!), Swarovski crystal bicones, and silver filled wire (bonded to white brass, not copper so it looks like sterling silver) from Unkamen Supplies on Etsy (he's great, I bought supplies from him for the bridesmaid jewelry for my son and daughter-in-law's wedding).
This is a tiny glass vial that I filled with tiny sea glass pieces, then foiled and soldered, below that that is a soldered piece of brown sea glass.
The clasp is also a piece of sea glass, green, that I foiled, soldered and added a hook to the back. I rubbed a tiny bit of coconut oil onto both the green and brown pieces of sea glass. It gives it a nice glow and brings the color out (it does not go rancid, so it's a good choice). The little silver toned spacers are from Michael's. I think they're little daisies, but I'm preferring to think of them as sunflowers, which is a symbol for us of T.J. As I was pulling items out (you should see my studio presently), I pulled out a couple of vials of sterling silver coated and copper seed beads that I've had forever. Oh my gosh, I can't believe what I paid for these years ago (I'm sure they'd be a lot more today)! Thankfully I had the discount at The Beadin' Path!
Sorry, Blogger is rotating some of my photos and I can't figure out how to rotate them back..... 
The heart pendant started out as a pottery shard that I picked up on one of my many beach walks. The heart is a reminder of T.J.'s huge, beautiful, loving heart and the life that he was able to give another. 
Overall, I'm very happy with this necklace; it needs a little bit of tweaking and I'll work on that. It does flip a bit though, so I need to figure out a way to keep the bezel/button sections facing front (I think it's a weight thing). If you have a suggestion, suggest away!

So grab a cuppa' and hop along with these creative souls to see what's close to their hearts that they'd like you to know more about:
Lori
Heather
Anderson
Millican
www.PrettyThingsBlog.com (hostess)
www.facebook.com/swoondimples (bead artist)
CandidaCastleberrywww.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
mischelleandradehttps://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
PaigeMaximhttp://delightfullittlegems.blogspot.com/
Laurie Vyselaar www.lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
MarybethRichhttp://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
AlicePetersonwww.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
KimDworakhttp://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com/
AudreyBĂ©langerhttp://esperianterra.blogspot.ca/
Karenmitchellwww.overthemoon-design.com
JoanWilliamswww.lilrubyjewelry.com
JeanWellsjeanawells.blogspot.com
AnnSchroederwww.beadlove.wordpress.com
GailAccinellifacebook.com/oregonmadejewelry
TaniaSpiveywww.moobiegracedesigns.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffmanhttp://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/
Mary KMcGrawmkaymac.blogspot.com
ShaiWilliamswww.shaihasramblings.com/
BethEmerystoriesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
CatieDomanhttp://drcatie.blogspot.com
LoreleiEurtohttp://lorelei1141.blogspot.com/
LeeKoopmanwww.stregajewellry.wordpress.com
TammyAdamswww.paisleylizard.com/blog/
KatieNelsonhttps://www.facebook.com/katiebead
PattyMillerhttp://pattymillerbeads.blogspot.com
ChrisEisenbergwww.wanderware.blogspot.com
CassiPaslickhttp://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
CharleeGriffithhttps://www.facebook.com/charlee.griffith
KelliNelsonwww.afamilyaffarekelli.blogspot.com
CatherineKinghttp://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
MelissaTrudingerbeadrecipes.wordpress.com
SusanBowiehttps://susanbowie.wordpress.com
JenniferJustmanwww.soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
CassiPaslickhttp://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
KHutchinsonhttp://jumbledhutch.wordpress.com
VeralynneMalonewww.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Evie and BethMcCordhttp://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/
MihaelaGeorgescuhttp://michellemaya2005.wordpress.com
RebeccaAndersonWww.songbeads.blogspot.com
Charlene Jackawww.clay-space.com
KimStevenswww.pickingpoppies.blogspot.com
SusanMcClellandMistheword12.wordpress.com


GinaHockettwww.freestyleelements.blogspot.com
MonaArnottbijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.ca
SandiVolpewww.sandivolpe.com
AndreaGlickhttp://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
JanineLucashttp://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories
LoriBowring Michaudwww.artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
ChristieMurrowWww.charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
B.R.Kuhlmanwww.mixedmayhemstudios.com
LupeMeterwww.gesmpccorner.blogspot.com
LucyBejaranowww.lucybejaranojewelry.blogspot.com/
StephaniePerrywww.mustardbeadbystephanieperry.blogspot.com
ElisabethAuldwww.beadsforbusygals.com
CarolynLawsonwww.carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
HeatherPowerswww.humblebeads.blogspot.com
KatieHackerwww.katiehacker.blogspot.com
KepiRasmussenwww.kepirasmussen.blogspot.ca 
Gail Vanderster-Zwangwww.angelmoose.blogspot.com
ElizabethHodgeshttp://thewhisperingseas.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Bridal Shower That Pinterest and Etsy Created

Three months since my last post - where has the time gone? Well, we're in full-on wedding preparation here! My son and his lovely fiance are getting married in less than two months! We had my future daughter-in-law's bridal shower here at home last weekend. My girls, Caitlin and Gabrielle, and I had a definite look and feel we wanted for Katie's shower and Pinterest and Etsy helped us pull it off.
The bride to be. Corsage by Fleur de Lis, South Portland, ME
We wanted a small, intimate shower for her, here at our home that would take place both inside and outside. That means there were lots, and lots, and lots of home projects to be completed on top of the shower projects. Needless to say, not all of the projects were completed which is frustrating. My husband is much more laid back than I am, and he kept telling me to let it go. I finally did, about half an hour before the brunch..... The projects still need to be completed as we're having the rehearsal dinner, a pig roast as a nod to Matt's redneck ways, here at our home as well. Hopefully we'll complete them all... We also needed the weather to cooperate. Up through the night before the weather folks were calling for rain - not overcast, or sprinkles, but rain. I had a meltdown. We call our house "the shoe box". It's small, and we've packed A LOT of living into it. Could I fit 40 people inside my house for the shower? Yes, but it wouldn't be either comfortable or relaxing. We needed to be able to be outside as well. Thankfully, God and Mother Nature took our prayers to heart and we only had one brief sprinkle before the shower and one as we were cleaning up!

This greeted Katie as she walked up the front walk. It's hard to see the top hat, but it's adorable. Caitlin made these.

Matt and Katie are going with a bit of a rustic, with a little bit of glam, feel to the wedding. Purple is Katie's favorite color, green is Matt's. Sunflowers are prominent as they have special meaning for them. There was lots and lots of food, most I didn't snap pictures of because everyone tucked in as soon as it was put on the table. I'll add recipes for some of the items, perhaps in another post.
The invitation suite was purchased from Sunnyside Print and Party Shop on Etsy. They can be purchased as either PDFs or print packages. I cannot say enough good things about Amber! She is so willing to work to make your purchase exactly what you want, her turnaround time is quick. I am so, so very happy I found her. The invitations, recipe cards and thank you cards were perfect. Katie loved them. Amber has also designed the rehearsal dinner invitation and she's also going to design the labels for the wedding favors. The return address labels were purchased as a PDF from Samantha at Daisy Design Shop on Etsy. Again, a fabulous Etsy seller, so willing to make changes. The labels coordinate so well with the invitation/thank you.

Another great Etsy seller is Marie of Ichabod's Imagination. She was so great to work with. This was one of those items that I could have made myself but it was so much easier and saved so much time to purchase instead. This bunting will be used as a decoration for the rehearsal dinner, at the wedding and will be a keepsake that Matt and Katie can hang at home if they'd like. It is constructed so well. My pictures don't do it justice because there was a bit of sun shining through the back.
I staples inexpensive sheer curtain panels from Walmart to the privacy screening on our deck for a backdrop.
We made ornaments as favors for our guests and I purchased muslin bags from In The Clear on Etsy. The original bags I ordered came in the wrong size. Dana was fabulous to work with. Communication was great, she mailed out the replacements right away and sent along a return shipping label so I could mail the bags back to her. I so appreciate such great customer service, I'll definitely be back! We used a sunflower stamp and Staz-On ink to embellish the bags simply.
I also found several very sweet prints on Etsy that enhanced the theme for the day:
This print from Terra Cosmos greeted our guests as they arrived.
The You Are My Sunshine print is from Valerie McKeehan of Lily & Val. Love, love, love. I loved Valerie's prints so much I also bought one that I was going to hang in my studio, but have temporarily hung in our powder room. It fits with the beachy theme for the summer. 
There were also touches that were inspired by things I saw on Etsy and on Pinterest. 
Wired burlap ribbon, hot glued to colored jars - then wrapped with sheer coordinating ribbon. Small artificial sunflower head hot glued as accents. All items from AC Moore.
A search of "twine bottles" on Pinterest will bring up lots of versions of this project. This is the picture that caught my eye and we augmented.
The garland idea was from this blog (found through Pinterest)
The shadow M picture was interesting to take. I took it a couple of summers ago at our family camp. I was in front of Matt (on the right) hidden in his shadow to take the pic. No easy task, I'm not a tiny person. The picture on the left is just after Matt popped the question.
This little vignette was also from the same blog. The heart garland hanging from the canopy in the background was found on this blog.















This is my favorite project I think. I absolutely love it! Our neighbors had replaced their fence recently. I saw this project on Pinterest, but knew I didn't want to, couldn't afford to buy all of the frames. I used their layout for the pictures, but I printed 4x6 pics and mounted them on 5x7 pieces of black cardstock (Bazzill Basics) with a scrapbook tape runner. I painted thumbtacks black and used one on the top and one on the bottom of each picture to tack it to the fence. Love!
We had mimosas and blood Mary's as well as this punch (which isn't shown). Delish!
We made a wall monogram that isn't quite finished (the brown M will have brown sea glass glued to it)
Modified this idea
 We stamped doilies and napkins
and signs to identify food

and served everything on vintage milk glass luncheon sets
All in all, an absolutely fabulous day! Can't wait to call this woman our daughter/sister!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Waxed Linen Jewelry Blog Hop Reveal

Well hello there! Thanks for hopping by for the reveal of the Waxed Linen Jewelry Blog Hop hosted by the lovely Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio. Thanks so much for hosting Diana!

Diana posted a call for interest on Facebook just after, literally, I found the following in my dining room:
(No, we have not yet fixed the floor where we knocked down a wall to enlarge our dining room.)
This is my daughter's Golden Retriever puppy Lux. It's a good thing for her she's so cute and lovable. That was a lovely spool of black waxed linen that she pilfered from my studio without my knowledge.......... So, I felt it was kismet that Diana posted about joining the hop.

Anyhoo, we've had plenty of time to complete our projects, but because my middle name is Last Minute Sally, I only figured out what I was going to create a couple of days ago so I was up 'til 2 this morning finishing. I really like it though, so that's a plus!
I made the focal several years ago. It's a tumbled glass ring (cut from a vintage bottle or vase) I picked up at The Beadin' Path by Trinket Foundry (I believe). I used it as a backless bezel and filled it with treasures I've collected at the beach - pottery shards and tiny chips of glass that I then filled with Ice Resin. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that it needs one more pour of resin to compensate for the slight angle it was sitting on when it cured to even out the dome. Sigh... Here's a tip for you though, should you even wish to embed pottery shards into resin - seal each of the pieces with either gel medium, decoupage glue or some other sealant. Quite often the color from the shards will leach out into the resin. The pieces, most often, are very, very old and they're not colorfast. I have a couple of pieces I made at the same time as this one that are ruined because of this.
The yellow crystals and double drilled quartz point are from the soup my Bead Soup partner Kelly Hosford Patterson sent to me. Yellow is a color I struggle with a bit, but they went with this focal so well. 
I then culled through my ridiculously huge collection of sea glass (just about all is craft grade) and double drilled each piece. Finally, I wove two strands of blue waxed linen around and through each piece, knotting in between and covering the knots with African metal beads. All-in-all, a successful project. I'm not gonna' lie though, a LOT of Irish Wax Linen was killed in the making of this project.....I tore it apart four times. Thankfully most of the strands are fairly long so I should be able to do something with them some day. I'm sure there's a fail-proof technique for knotting the linen between beads - it took me a few tries to find a method that worked for me.

Now, hop along and see what these other lovely folks created with waxed linen: