Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Spirit

I had so much fun with the ABS Ornament Blog Hop! It really put me in the Christmas spirit looking at all of the amazing art that was created for our Christmas trees. I received some lovely comments on my blog about my ornament. I was surprised at the number of Leos! I too am a Leo, July 27 (so are my husband and dad)! So, I decided to do a giveaway as I had an extra lion face. I placed Marie Cramp, Jewels by Ine, Diana P., and SueBeads names in a hat ('cause I'm all high tech) as they commented they they either were a Leo themselves or love a Leo, and had Hazel draw the winner. The winner is Diana of Suburban Girl Studio!

And, because I felt bad that I hadn't included everyone in the drawing because they weren't Leos and it is the season for giving and all - I did a second drawing with the names of the rest of the commenters! The winner of a surprise ornament is - Kathleen Lange Klik!
And, to add to the oh-so-funny list, I just hopped over Kathleen's blog to copy her URL and saw that she did the very same thing. Guess who the winner was?? Miss Diana, you are a lucky girl!

Thanks again to Heather Powers of ABS for hosting this fun hop!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop - Reveal!

Heather Powers of Art Bead Scene (as well as Humblebeads and Earrings Everyday) is hosting the second annual Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop! Thanks Heather! Today is reveal day! Now, in a perfect world (I do NOT live in perfect), the perfect NEWLY created ornament that is in my head would be posted. As usual, life gets in the way (and a special family ornament crafting session to make ornaments for our oldest daughter’s first tree away from home). Thankfully, I've created enough Christmas ornaments over the last few years that I had one to post. So, for you folks who don't want the back-story, I'll post the picture right off. If you want to know how I got started with ornaments, and where I want to go with them, grab a cuppa', and keep reading. I have the gift (that's not what my family calls it) of gab. ;) Scroll to the bottom of the post for the list of participating bloggers and check out their artful creations!
This is a lion face I made for my daughter Gabrielle when she was in high school a couple of years ago. She went to an all-girls Catholic high school and was proudly a Lion. Then she went to college and was a Wheaton Lyon. This is a handpainted, stained glass ornament soldered with a lead free solder that contains sterling silver. It's made using the copper foil method of stained glass made famous by Tiffany. The first lion face I made for her looked like a bear she said. :( (It really does.)

I began, early in our marriage, picking up one beautiful handcrafted ornament for our tree each year. When our kids were little I would periodically buy them ornaments; not every year because we didn't always have the money. They then started creating Christmas ornaments in pre-school and elementary school and we added those to our tree. Soon, the tree became full of beautiful, special ornaments (our oldest daughter just took her box with her to her first apartment and has a lovely very first Christmas tree).

I've always had a craft or three going on but had never made ornaments for our tree or our kids until I saw a beautiful tree on the cover of Victoria Magazine years ago. It was a tree (and interior spread) decorated with ornaments by Wells Jenkins of Wells Ware. I. Fell. In. LOVE. I, however, could not afford them, as beautiful as they were. So, I had to figure out how they were made. I took a stained glass class that following year and learned how to cut and solder (though my soldering still needs work in my opinion), and figured out how to make them. The next fall I snuck into my parent's and in-law's homes, stole old family photos (copied and replaced them), and worked with our grandmothers to gather special photos. I made both sets of parents 13 or 14 ornaments each that year. It was, I think, the best gift (other than our children) we've ever given them. There were tears. It made my year. I was even able to get a photo of one set of my father-in-law's grandparents that he didn't know existed (the photo that is). Score!

Anyhoo, I continued working with glass through that winter and one day in March, my youngest daughter Gabrielle asked me if I would make her friend Annie a pin as part of her birthday present. Gabrielle was 6 1/2 at the time. I asked what kind of pin, she said a stained glass pin. I asked her if she just wanted me to glue a pin back to a piece of glass. She said no. She picked out a small curved triangular piece of pink/white wispy and asked me to paint a bird and a birdhouse on it (I did a little bit of decorative painting back then). I told her I thought the paint (acrylics) would scratch off. She thought about it a minute and said, "Well, if you use the boys' model paint it will stick. It sticks to everything you don't want it to." True that. Well, I made it, it was adorable, and we pinned it to her birthday card. That was the beginning of me painting on glass. The first ornament came a few short years after that when I was coaching one of her sports teams and made them for the girls at the end of the season.

As we were raising the kids, working, coaching - you know, life. I didn't have time for a lot of creating. So, still, there weren't a lot of ornaments created by me as they were growing. After we lost our beautiful TJ, we realigned. I have spent more time creating, but not enough. Work and life seem to get in the way still, but I'm trying to realign again. I have created some really unique ornaments over the last few years and there are many more (and other components) in my head and sketchbook. I want to bring them to fruition, to create the life I want to live - working from my studio, in jeans and a t-shirt, music playing and the studio door wide open (well, when it's not winter). It needs to become my priority, now that the kids are grown. I can make it happen, I just have to begin the journey and take one step at a time. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined." -Thoreau

I know, it’s a book. Thanks for indulging me! Now, hop on over to check out the beautiful ornaments created by these lovely artists!
Artfully Ornamental (you are here)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Challenge of Color Giveaway Winners!

Good afternoon folks! We have winners! Thank you all for commenting about the necklace I made for the Challenge of Color Blog Hop hosted by the lovely Miss Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati! I haven't yet had the opportunity to respond to each of you, but I will this weekend. I haven't even had time to visit the blogs of the other 53 participants yet, but I'm hoping to snuggle in tonight with a fire in the fireplace and do just that!

So, we have two winners one a Challenge participant and one a commenter who did not participate in the challenge.
It was a very tech-savvy method of picking the Challenge participant ;) . That is my husband Tim's (lovingly referred to as Hazel) hand selecting the winner. Aaannnnndddd the winner is:
Jenni Connolly of Jenni's Beads in Australia! Congratulations Jenni, I'll send along an email for your mailing address!

The winner of the non-Challenge commenter was much easier as there was only one. The winner is Jeannie! Jeanne, if you'd send me an email with your contact information I'll send your ornament along (I don't see an email for you).

Thank you all again for commenting and playing along with me and Erin!