Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenge of Music - Blog Hop

Join the Challenge of Music
The lovely Miss Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati is hosting the Challenge of Music blog hop today. Erin is hosting quarterly design challenges for anyone who is looking for a jewelry design challenge. Boy did my piece challenge me, and not in a good way. Erin wrote this as part of her introduction to the challenge: "What song do you connect to so personally that every time it comes on the radio the beat moves you, the lyrics speak to your soul, and the harmonies make your heart sing? If you love music, this is the challenge for you! For the Challenge of Music, we will choose a song that speaks to each of us personally and translate that song into an accessory."

I love country music. There was a day, about 30ish years ago when I detested it. My husband is a plumber. He's a Project Manager now and oversees men out in the field, but back in the day he worked on commercial construction sites. They were either blaring head-banging metal music or country music. It seemed that every time I got into his truck or into my car after he used it, country music was on the radio. I immediately switched to my favorite top 40 station. However, after a period of time I would find myself switching to the country station (but if it was good weather and the windows were down - it was back to the top 40 when I'd hit a red light. Heaven forbid anyone would think I was listening to country!). Now, country is just about all I listen to. I do have a peripheral knowledge of what's going on in other genres from hearing my kids' music, and I switch it up every now and then. Country, however, has my heart. First (at almost 50), I understand the lyrics! Second, and most importantly - it speaks to my heart and soul. It's about real life. I love it.

The song I chose for the challenge was a no-brainer for me. I chose Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw (lyrics here). This song came out in August of 2004. We lost our beautiful son T.J., our oldest, in May of 2004 - Mother's Day to be exact. You can read more about T.J. if you'd like to here. Here's the official video for the song:
 "I was in my early 40's with a lot of life before me when a moment came that stopped me on a dime. I spent most of the next days looking a the x-rays, talking about options, talking about sweet time." I know these lyrics by heart and don't need to look them up. I was 42 when T.J. was injured; we spent days in the SCU (special care unit) with T.J. in a coma, with nineteen connections to different machines. He was taken for multiple x-rays, CAT scans, etc. We sat as a family and talked, and talked. Several years after T.J.'s death I was asked to speak as part of a presentation on teen death. My speech talks about the surviving family's perspective. It's something that teens don't think about when engaging in risky behavior. To be clear, T.J. didn't engage in risky behavior when he died, he was at work. I've given that speech several times now over the years. I begin my talk with these lines from the song. It's very powerful and life-changing for the students.

The video for this song is predominantly white, with Tim barefoot wearing jeans, a white shirt and a black cowboy hat. I wanted to capture that in my piece; easier to picture in my mind than create. I'm disappointed in how it turned out - in my head and with my original bead selection it came out much better. Now, there is a funny story that goes along with this as well. I'll write more about that below. So, without further adoo here is my piece inspired by Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying (please excuse the pictures, I don't have the patience at the moment to edit):
So, really what I wanted was a two strand bracelet, with the strands separate from one another. I ended up with it still two stranded, but the strands are threaded through the sea glass on sterling silver SoftFlex. Why you ask? Well, I drilled the clear frosted sea glass chips and intended that strand to be separated by black seed beads. The second strand was going to be made of these lovely denim blue lucite heishi with a little bit of amethyst swirled through them, separated by Czech glass fire-polished rounds in a clear/amethyst/blue. However, in a bracelet the size of the lucite heishi and the sea glass chips separated the strands in a very awkward way. I think it would have worked in a necklace, just not the bracelet.
The focal I made from a SLK bezel filled with a picture I took at the beach of mussel shells that looks like a heart and sealed with ICE Resin (this caused me fits - I had a resin disaster on my hands last weekend - my fault). T.J. was an organ donor and his heart still beats keeping someone else alive and healthy. There is a piece of the inside of a mussel shell embeded on the reverse side (I forgot to take a picture of it). The exterior of the mussel shells are a bluish and the interior has that little bit of amethyst to it, like MOP.
This little charm is a Green Girl Studios charm that I bought at a bead show about 6 or 7 years ago. It is heart shaped and there is a daffodil on one side (you can see it in the first picture) and on the back is carved "Think of Me", fitting I think for remembering T.J. T would have been 27 yesterday (another reason it was a difficult week), he lives on in our hearts every minute of every day. Now, part of why I struggled with this piece was the construction, part because this is a difficult time of year for me and part (because I'm ready to move this post on to funny) is because of this:
This is Daisy. Daisy likes to lay on top of anything that is in this spot. The above picture happens to be of my daughter's art project. The other morning it was my beading board and three bead storage containers (with their lids off - do you see where this is going?).
6 a.m. crash, bang, boom and bellowing from my husband. This picture does not begin to encompass the true disaster. Three containers people - all of my sterling silver components (beads, crimps, clasps, earrings, bead caps, etc.) and some base metal findings. I'm not sure I can readily identify which are sterling and which are base metal, other than the fact that most of it is sterling. And prices? They were on little scraps of paper in each divided section - it's like confetti on the floor. Two of the containers had been picked up in this picture. The debris was EVERYWHERE in my dining room!
I had no spark left to work through the design issues with the bracelet after this. Yep, the bead board with the bracelet and all its components ended up on the floor too. It'll take me a flippin' year to sort it all out..... Anyhoo, hop along on this blog challenge. The participants are listed below. Thanks for visiting! Love deeper, Speak sweeter, Give forgiveness you've been denying.....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012



T.J. Michaud
On His 27th Birthday, February 28

With each experience we are reborn.
We see with new eyes,
We hear with new ears,
We touch with new hands,
And our hearts beat with a different rhythm.
With this rebirth, we become someone different.
It can be joy or sadness that recreates us,
But whatever it may be we start over.
You were reborn somewhere else.
You see with new eyes,
Touch with new hands,
And your heart beats a new rhythm.
With your rebirth, we were reborn.
We see the beauty,
We hear the joy,
We touch with kindness,
And our hearts beat a happy rhythm.
                                                      - Gabi

Happy birthday beautiful boy.
We love you and miss you every day.

Dad, Mom, Caiti, Matt and Gabi

Sunday, February 26, 2012

E-Course Giveaway


Have you wanted to learn to to torch-fire enamel onto metal (I do!)? Well, Barbara Lewis of Painting With Fire...Artwear is having a giveaway on her blog for her new e-course, how exciting is that! If you'd like the opportunity to win, hop on over to her blog and follow the instructions. Maybe you'll be the lucky one! Today is the last day to enter, the winner will be chosen on Monday, February 27.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bead Soup Has Arrived!!

I received my bead soup from Mary on Thursday. My. Oh. My! She sent me a luscious soup that has me dreaming of summer (while we've had a mild winter relatively speaking, with the wind chill it's 9 degrees here today - the sun is at least shining, thankfully)!
Look at those colors! I've spent a few minutes going through my personal stash and have pulled a few interesting things to go with them. I LOVE the focal I'm going to create! The three lampworked (torch fired, flameworked - pick a term) beads Mary sent me are GORGEOUS. They were made by Sarah Moran of z-beads. I have admired (coveted maybe?) Sarah's beads for a few years. They are beautiful - her color combinations and technical precision are AMAZING! I simply haven't been able to afford them. Don't get me wrong, they are worth every single penny - but with the raising of the children, kids in college, etc. they just haven't been in the budget (that aside, I have a rather large hoard of artisan beads that need to be dealt with).
Can I just say again that I love my beads? Thank you very much Mary! Below is the soup that I sent to Mary:
My picture is not spectacular. Mary has much better pics on her blog. Mary's soup includes mocha latte sari ribbon from Barbara Lewis of Painting With Fire, drilled sea glass fron me, lampworked chicklet beads from Jessie Harding of Burke Mountain Beads (I don't know if she's still making beads, the web address I have for her doesn't appear to be active), a bezel clasp from SLK's Industrial Chic line filled with sea glass bits and ICE Resin, and from The Beadin' Path (my favorite bead store) vintage willow green givre lucite rounds, vintage patterned copper rounds, vintage twisted copper love knots and a vintage raw brass bezel pendant filled with sea glass chips and ICE Resin. I can't wait to see what Mary makes with her ingredients. See you on March 3rd for the reveal (I'll have the list of all pairings on that day)!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5th Bead Soup Blog Party - Sneaky Peak

Well hello! Work and life have taken over for the last month and a half. Whew! January is supposed to move at a bit slower pace than the holidays. It seems as though many people have felt that January flew by at an alarming rate!

Blog Hop begins March 3rd!

The lovely Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is hosting her 5th Bead Soup Blog Party and I was very fortunate to have the Random Number Generator gods working in my favor - I was selected as a participant (only 200 this time around - much more manageable for Miss Lori)! Yay me! I was paired with the equally lovely Mary Govaars of MHL Designs! Below is a sneaky-peak of the soup I'm sending to Mary:

I'll reveal slightly less pixelated versions of the soup as the package gets closer and closer to Mary! Be sure to check back to see what soup ingredients Mary has sent to me!