Studio Musings

Friday, January 4, 2019

Growing Where I’m Planted

decorating the front of my 2019 sketch journal
I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, but some years I do gravitate towards a word or phrase that helps to sum up my hopes and intentions for the coming year.  Somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I found myself ruminating on the word “Grow”.  It's been quite some time since I feel that I've grown, creatively, and it's time.  I have an equally strong desire to focus on what I already have, and what I’ve neglected or forgotten.

Our culture places so much emphasis on new growth - new artistic endeavors, new art supplies, new clothing - will create a new, better you.  Part of me is certain that if I 'just buy this one more sweater, my entire wardrobe will suddenly click'.   These beads (paper, pens, watercolors, acrylics, fabrics, etc.) are sooo pretty; I must buy them!  I know I’ll use them!  No matter that they're likely to be lost in my stash shortly after I get them home.  Same with online courses I've signed up for over the years (most often on watercolors and urban sketching). 

Moving my studio back into my home last fall, I realized just how overwhelming all of this wonderful stuff can become.  And how much of my time is spent simply curating, organizing, and trying to keep it all neat enough so that I can find things.

My goal for this year is to turn my attention away from the new ‘bright and shinies’ to focus on all of the wonderful collections, opportunities, and yes, friendships, that I already have.  To grow where I'm planted  and what are the ways in which I wish to grow.  Looking to the resources I already have, rather than what I might add.

One of the hardest parts will be determining what is clutter - the weeds in my particular garden.  Not all of the art media I've tried over the years are really my cup of tea.  That doesn't mean that giving up the related tools and supplies is easy.  I might need them one day.  Maybe?  (Okay, maybe not).  

Sort of corollary to this whole process, I’ve also embarked on a repeat of last year’s elimination diet.  Through the fall, and especially over the holidays, I relaxed my diet too much, and started paying the price with autoimmune flares.  To combat this, on January 2nd, I cut processed sugar, all grains and gluten, caffeine, and a whole host of other things out of my diet.  My plan is to stick with the strictest version for 2-3 weeks, then slowly start retesting other foods.  Yesterday was the Day of the Terrible Headache.  Today is the Day of Swollen Joints.  I expect a few more days of misery as I go through the detox stage, but am looking forward to that day, sometime next week, when I wake up without brain fog and pain, with energy to spare.

But I’m not waiting until then to get started on growing where I’m planted.   While my fingers are too swollen to do much creative work, I can type, I can visit with friends, I can sort through papers,  make lists of things I used to like to do, and start rooting through my supplies to see what I have to work with, and I can dream.

Not a bad way to start the New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2018

More Ornaments Mini-Reveal

In one of those 'best laid plans' sort of things, Sunday's Blog Hop didn't quite go according to plan.   A couple of packages were delayed, and not everyone's ornaments were featured.  What this means is we get to go again!

whimsical Log Cabin Santas stitched up by Jane Knaub

JJ's presents within a present
Jane Knaub sent Mandi a Log Cabin Santa. A fun quilted cone that can be used as ornaments or bottle toppers, like the ones shown above.  In a fun note, Jane wrote "I had seen the Santa made from a Log Cabin Quilt Square at a recent quilt guild meeting and I found the pattern online.  However, it was in Italian.  So good old Google translated it."


Meanwhile, JJ Jacob's fused glass ornament got missed in the initial reveal.  JJ creates delightfully playful, fused glass ornaments, often creating a new design each year.  She even teaches classes on how to make your own fused glass ornaments!  Swing by her blog to see more of her designs. 


Margo Lynn's package to me was another of those that took the adventurous route.  But oh was it worth the wait!  Inside I found the cutest miniature stocking, a beautiful card and two extra little gifts.  Thank you Margo Lynn!



Stocking and Stocking shadows!

It's been terribly grey here the past week, something that I truly realized as I tried to photograph the stocking.  To make it worse, I think all of my photography skills have flown out the window (perhaps Santa will catch and return them when he swings by next week).  Margo Lynn knit the stocking from this lovely gold, glittery thread that's really, really hard to do justice with my current (lack of) skills. And something funny - I didn't even notice the purple bugle beads along the top edge until I had it under bright light to photograph.  Remember what I said about how grey it is here?

Then I had to find its new home.  First, I hung it on our Christmas tree. 
Hanging from the tree
It looked nice there, but I wanted to put it somewhere a little more prominent.  I have a thing for stockings.  The stocking I still use was made for me by my grandmother, who passed away when I was seven.  I still remember opening gifts at her house, that last Christmas with her. 

old and new stockings hanging together
So I decided to hang Margo Lynn's stocking with my grandmother's.  Oh, and I filled the little guy with a handful of treats, and am allowing myself one a day.  There's just enough to make it from now until Christmas, so long as I don't get greedy!

Margo Lynn also sent:
Two lotion bars - one for myself and one for my friend who acted as my mail drop

 A lovely letterpress card. The buildings feel like they're embossed

sneak peak of Carrie's ornament, in process
Carrie's package was another one that took the scenic route to its destination.  And the two of them agreed to both open their packages on Wednesday.  Carrie wrote a fantastic guest post on what she made for Therese, with wonderful process photos of her design/creation process, over on Therese's blog.  Definitely head over and check it out. 

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas!

And Happy Solstice, the days will be growing longer again after today! 


Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Ornament Swap Reveal

Today's the day to see all of the lovely ornaments everyone made in this year's Swap Hop!

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams




I'll update the list with direct links to everyone's posts as soon as I have my morning tea.  I'm on the West Coast, so it won't be first thing for my East Coast friends.

In order to make the numbers match, I was fortunate enough to pair up with two swap partners, Margo Lynn and Cyndi Nason.  Originally, I thought I might create a bead embroidered ornament for each of them, but nothing quite worked out the way I wanted it to.  In the end, I decided to combine two of my favorite beading patterns into a new design.  Not what I'd envisioned, but better than what was coming from my other attempts.  It did feel good to be beading again!

Snowflakes and Lantern Beads for Cyndi and Margo Lynn
paper-cut luminary with LED candle
I used the same pattern variations for both of their main ornaments, varying the color palettes to hopefully suit each.  For Cyndi's, I added in a pair of earrings, while I added in an extra snowflake ornament for Margo Lynn.

Cyndi wrote that her "ornament is going on a chain and being worn with my Christmas shirt to our Christmas Dinner/Square Dance this coming Tues. (then back on the tree). I'm figuring out where it can go, so it can be displayed year round."  Yeah, she liked it! 

And because paper is my second love, I also sent each of them a snowflake luminary, and made little pillow boxes to hold their ornaments.


In return, Cyndi sent a gorgeous seed-beaded ornament created with Delica's in rich Christmas tones.  Between a late mailing and my travels, I just received her ornament today.  It definitely brightened a very, very grey day.

Cyndi's ornament complete with decorative hanger

after trying it on the tree, I instead hung it in the archway to our dining room

 I immediately hung it on our tree, but decided I wanted to give it more prominence.  It's now hanging from the center of the pine roping decorating the archway between our dining and living rooms.   So lovely!

Margo Lynn's ornament hasn't made it quite yet, but I'll add photos as soon at it arrives!


2018 Ornament Exchange - Adrienne Hendrickson

Adrienne's freeform bead embroidery ornament
Adrienne Hendricks made this lovely ornament for Francie Broadie.

When I asked about her inspiration, Adrienne wrote back, "Francie said that she liked bright colors and sea life. There is no pattern, it’s just bead embroidery using one of Brenda Miller’s painted ladies cabs, a small piece of Shibori silk ribbon, some pearls and an assortment of beads." 

Reading her email, I found myself wanting to put her 'just' in quotes or italics.  There's definitely no just about this original design as far as I'm concerned!

In return, Adrienne wrote that she received:
  • Two adorable little ornaments
  • A cute flamingo card (very appropriate since I’m in Florida)
  • Candy! 
And sent this picture:



Adrienne's exchange package from Francie (who knew there were Christmas peeps?)




When I asked about the little tree, Adrienne responded "The tree is beaded, from seed beads and those Czech 2-hole triangle beads. I can’t tell how it’s made; it may be done with wire as opposed to thread to hold the 3D shape. The Santa is a cork with a knitted hat and scarf. Right now they are living on my desk as we don’t have our tree up, not sure how the 7 month old puppy is going to react to it."

A closeup of the two ornaments

Want to see what everyone else made?  Here's the full participant list:

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams

2018 Ornament Exchange - Jane Knaub

Jane couldn't wait to display her ornaments from Mandy!
The day after Thanksgiving, I received an email from Jane Knaub.  It was short and sweet: "Here are pics of the beautiful ornaments I received from Mandy Bugatti.  She sent 2 ornaments and a pair of earrings."  Along with two photos.  


Aren't these candle earrings delightful? 
I wrote back, curious about the size of the ornaments, and commented that I loved her display.  I was quite impressed that she had already decorated, while I was still recovering from my turkey coma.  Turns out Jane "went out and bought a special table-top tree and then bought some other little balls to put on it.  Probably won’t decorate till next weekend." so that she'd have a place to display Mandy's ornaments immediately!

Jane's new display tree for Mandy's ornaments

 

Want to see what Jane made for Mandi?  Here's the full participant list - hop on over to Mandi's blog and see:

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams

2018 Ornament Exchange - Becky Clay


Victorian Santa #5

Becky Clay writes "I made the Victorian Santa #5 pattern by Linda Farber, which can be obtained from bead-patterns.com, for Jasvanti Patel.  There are a series of five faces in patterns and I love the shading in the beard that makes it sparkle."

love how his cheeks glow in this photo!
















Searching the site, I wasn't able to find that particular pattern, but did come across Linda Farber's delightful Pierre Noel Pin or Ornament, part of Bead-Patterns Magazine, Issue 8.  I did find the pattern on the Sova-Enterprises site, but have never ordered from them, so I have no personal experience working with them, good or bad. 


Want to see what Jasvanti made for Becky?  Here's the full participant list - hop on over to Jasvanti's blog and see:

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams

2018 Ornament Hop - Judy Deshaies


Judy writes:  "I sent my partner, JJ Jacobs, a blue and silver icicle ornament with Swarovski Crystal highlights. She told me she doesn’t have a tree, but decorates plants, etc around her home with ornaments.

"I remade it twice, trying to get the tension tighter so the swirls would be closer together. The first time I used size 8 silver metal beads for the core, but the large holes made the structure too floppy. I redid it with regular Miyuki seed beads and it was better. I made up the design, just using spirals with an increasing number of beads to achieve the shape. 

"My great granddaughter loved that ornament, so she took it home and I made another one for the swap." 






JJ's ornament for Judy
In exchange, JJ made one of her lovely fused glass ornaments for Judy.  A bright stack of Christmas packages. 

Here's the full participant list - hop on over to Judy's blog and see:

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams