Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Saturday Smiles Missed

I missed my Saturday Smiles posting...  Mostly because there weren't very many smiles here that day.

This is how I spent my Friday, and much of my Saturday. 

I was already wearing the big black cast on my left foot for a stress fracture.  On Friday, I was hurrying down the stairs to get to the cabin at Pioneer Park where we have some of our jewelry, and I tripped on my stupid big black cast.  And now I have a cast on my right foot, too.  My ankle swelled up so much!  Not quite as much as when I was pregnant, but wow, it was big.  It's gotten smaller since then, but now it's covered in black & purple bruises.

If you know me, you probably know I have a history of falling down stairs.  I've gotten better about being more careful as I have aged, but I haven't met a set of stairs I can't fall down.  I don't know why- I'm not clumsy.  It's like my brain is already done with the stairs, but my body hasn't caught up. I've fallen down small flights, and I've fallen down terrifying long flights...  Oh, and I've fallen UP the stairs a couple of times, too.  I've learned to hold tight to the railings, and go SLOW.  Which I forgot on Friday.  Not only was I hurrying, I was carrying a bag.  So I couldn't hold on to the railing. 

I've never sprained my ankle from falling down the stairs before, though.   I don't think I would have fallen at all if I hadn't been wearing the stupid big black cast, and I certainly wouldn't have sprained my ankle if I hadn't been wearing the stupid big black cast.

So.  Now I am stuck sitting on my tushy for a while.  With both my feet up.  I seriously feel like God is saying, "Slow down, Rebecca!"  I hate sitting around.  I want to be moving, doing something, making jewelry, shopping, walking, gardening...  I'm going insane here...

Hope my foot and ankle are better soon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Art Day

I had so much fun working on projects this week and I wanted to share a little bit of what I've been doing.

I finished off the green butterfly, so now all three of them are done.  Filigree butterflies, Swarovski crystals, and flowers.  What other combo could be quite as fun?

I completed more of the little frame hearts, but I only have one picture...  Becca, Do more pictures!  These little hearts are so fun to make.  I enjoy creating the heart, and then wrapping the flowers and crystals to the heart.  My favorite touch is the little crystal butterfly dangling from the center.  The necklaces end up very simple and sweet.

Also, I've been making these wire Y-shaped flower necklaces for a while, but I'm making them a little differently now than I did when I first started making them.

New Necklaces, Summer 2012

I used to make the entire necklace out of wire, like this:

Forget-Me-Not Necklace, Summer 2009

And this:

Blue Flowers Necklace, Summer 2008

NOW, instead of making the entire necklace out of wire, I mostly make the focal/center out of wire and then attach chain.  I don't do this with ALL my wire necklaces, but I am finding that a lot of people like them better this way.  The chain and chain extensions give the necklaces more length, and they can be worn a little looser.  Most of my clientele do not like chokers, and a lot of the wire necklaces were pretty short.  I've learned to make them longer, but people like having the option of making them a little shorter or a little longer depending on their outfit.

I still make my pearl necklaces completely out of wire, but I use a chain extender in the back.  The wire foundation works better for these viney necklaces because the weight and balance of the wire and pearls gives the entire necklace a solid structure.  However the light pieces seem to work better (less bending, less damage, less kinking) when attached to chain.  The chained wire pieces are also just plain easier to make.  They take a little less time and allow me to really fine-focus the wire details.

I'm also making them all a little more sturdy- at least double wrapping the wire and sometimes triple.  I like the viney, natural feel the extra wrappings create and I like them to be a little less fragile.  They are still delicate and dainty, but they don't break easily. I'm delighted with how quickly these Y-flower necklaces have sold this summer. I can barely keep them on the table.

It's fun to look back and see that I've gotten better at what I'm doing!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

God & Suffering

I just read a really good article about the nature of God, and why He allows suffering & evil.  Specifically in the light of what happened in Colorado last week.  I appreciate how the author, Lee Strobel, lovingly and compassionately is able to share what He believes:  *that God is not the creator of evil and suffering. 

He believes, (and so do I) that God is love.  And that when God decided to create human beings, he wanted us to experience love. But to give us the ability to love, God had to give us free will to decide whether to love or not to love. Because love always involves a choice.
So in order for us to experience love, God bestowed on us free will. But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from Him.  And the result of that choice has led to evil...

I trust God because I have seen how He changes lives, but my faith is not strong.  I have struggled with why God would allow terrible things to happen- the World Wars, the Holocaust, 9/11, Katrina... My understanding is weak. I'm just a messed up human who has seen miracles- lives changed, God choosing to heal one person miraculously and another by medicine.  I've also seen God choose NOT to heal someone...  And I don't understand.  I don't get it, and I trust that God is okay with me being confused and doubtful.

I've come to a point where I can step back and say, "I don't get it all, God.  I don't know why You allow what You allow.  I don't get why some things (like cancer, car accidents, mass shootings, poverty and starvation) are so hard and why some people are so comfortable.  But I know You are there for I have seen You, felt You and seen what You have done.  I trust that You can see the whole picture.  And I trust that Your plans are good, and that You love me."

If you want to read more of Mr. Strobel's article, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bead Table Wednesday

I've got a pretty big mess on there right now... 
Today, I finished up a heart necklace with the red flowers at the middle left of the picture.  I wired the flowers with Swarovski crystals onto the heart frame sitting under them in the picture, and then used the chain just below the heart & red flowers.
Tomorrow, I'm going to work on the crystal in the top middle of the picture.  Don't know exactly what I'm going to do with it, but I might just put it on a chain.  I'll have to wait and see....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hard to Love

I can't get the radio station I like up in my bed-room.  And when I was waking up to NPR I was having the weirdest/freakiest/scariest dreams...  So now my morning radio is set to country.  I like it, but it drives my poor husband crazy. 
Every once in a while a song comes on that just sticks with me all day.  Lee Brice's "Hard to Love" is one of those.  I relate to the lines.  (except "I drink too much", I don't drink because I don't like the way alcohol makes me feel.) 
I am this person...  I am selfish and mean, self-centered and critical.
But the part of this song that really gets me is in the second verse:  "You're like a Sunday morning full of grace and full of Jesus". 
Wow.  That's what I want people to say about me, to see in me.  To see the freedom & forgiveness I have found in the grace of Jesus...

Hard to Love
as sung by Lee Brice

I am insensitive I have a tendency
To pay more attention to the things that I need.
Sometimes I drink to much, sometimes I test your trust,
Sometimes I don't know why you're staying with me

I'm hard to love, hard to love,
I don't make it easy,
I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood
I'm hard to love, hard to love,
You say that you need me,
I don't deserve it but I love that you love me.

I am a short fuse, I am a wrecking ball
Crashing into your heart like I do
You're like a Sunday morning full of grace and full of Jesus
I wish that I could be more like you.

I'm hard to love, hard to love,
I don't make it easy,
I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood,
I'm hard to love, hard to love,
You say that you need me,
I don't deserve it but I love that you love me.
Love me good

Girl you've given me a million second chances
And I don't ever wanna take you for granted,
I'm just a man, I'm just a man

Hard to love, hard to love,
Oh I don't make it easy a
And I couldn't do it if I stood where you stood.
I'm hard to love, hard to love
And you say that you need me,
I don't deserve it but I love that you love me.
Good [x2]

You love me good.

Saturday Smiles & Sorrow

I am praying for those affected by the Colorado tragedy last night.  Shocked & horrified, and deeply saddened.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.

On Saturdays I post about a couple of things that have made me smile during the last week.

1) I'm having fun creating!
I'm making fun new things, and really enjoying myself.  Sometimes, I get in the habit of just 'getting it done', and not taking time to play.  I feel like I've stepped back and refocused over the last week.  Maybe I've finally got enough energy, or my foot is hurting as bad...  I don't know.  Whatever has caused it, something has shifted and I'm having fun creating jewelry again.

2) My girls are learning to ride bikes-
I bet that sounds like a normal thing to you, but I never did learn how to ride a bike.  We never lived where I could ride one, and I wasn't terribly interested.  By the time I was maybe interested in learning I was more terrified of getting hurt. Now I have a big tricycle that I putter around on, and I like that.
Deborah wasn't really interested in learning until this summer.  She worked hard and now she has it solid.  Abigail is about 75% of the way there, and wants desperately to keep up with her big sister.  It's fun watching them master something and gain confidence.

3) We are celebrating our 5th summer at Farmer's Market!
I can't believe how long we've been there!  We started in July of 2007, and we are kind of 'old hats' at the whole Farmer's Market business thing.  Lately, we've had people ask us for advice.  It's weird.  I don't feel like I've been around long enough to be an authority on the subject.  We still have days when we don't sell much.  We still have pieces we are not happy with and end up tearing apart after they've been on the table for a month.  I still get annoyed at the ridiculousness of some of our fellow vendors and crazy customers.  But I am enjoying the comfort level we are experiencing this year.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I've Been Working On...

It's a Friday Art day!
I finally got around to taking some pictures today.  I wish I did this more easily.  I really have to fight to get things photographed now.

I found these fabulous butterfly filigree pieces at Michael's (yes, sometimes I find some fun & unique components there!), and I've had so much fun working with them.  I've still got a green one left, and I hope to finish it off tomorrow.

I played around with some buttons I've been admiring & saving. This green and brown one is my favorite.

And last but not least, I have been twisting wire into little hearts... 

I saw some heart pendants in a chain store, not sure whether it was Walmart or Fred Meyer, and I thought "What a cute idea!  I bet I could make something like that, but unique and prettier."  I am delighted with the way they turned out.  The large one was my first try, and I had fun with it.  However, it was a trifle big for me.  So I endeavored to make the rest of them smaller... 

The brown and blue one is my current project, and lacks a chain still.  I finished a cute copper and turquoise one on Saturday, but it was sold before I even got it out on display!  A young woman walked into our tent, looked at the little silver one, turned and saw the copper one, and said 'That's the one!'  So it is already gone.  I'll try to do one similar soon..  Not exact, but similar.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Where it all began

Lori of Pretty Things suggested that all the participants in the Bead Soup Blog Party share what led to their passion for beads.  Where did it begin for us?  I liked reading a couple of the posts people have written about their inspiration, and I wanted to share, too.

I didn't discover beads early like my sister, Beth.  She told her story of falling for beads while she was in 6th grade HERE.  In high school I was into choir, band and reading books.  I was in musicals and concerts, and not into making things. 

Beth was, and she was excellent at it.  What's fun about that is the fact that she has got a great singing voice and enjoyed music and drama, but her passions were beads, paintings and sculptures.  She started out college as an art major and then took her visual artist's eye to Costume Design.  Now she's focused on Jewelry Design.  Yup, she's amazing.

Here are a couple of her paintings:

However, all the time Beth was making beautiful things, I was studying and pouring my energy into the more ephemeral arts- music, drama and performance.  After I graduated with a college degree in Theatre and Music, I went on to get a Master's in Communication Art with the understanding that I would teach and perform.  And I did. I got married along the way, but I was still doing music, teaching drama, and performing.

Until I got pregnant.  And was put on bed-rest for three months.

Yes, I love to read.  And I did read.  A lot.  I would make Jake drive me to the library, he'd walk in and get one of those little stools for me, and I'd push myself along choosing out books- at least 15 at a pop.

I re-read the Chronicles of Narnia, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books, Harry Potter, the Wizard of Oz, the Anne of Green Gables...  I discovered new authors, re-read old ones... 

But that was just the first month!

And I was still in bed.  Beth came down from Fairbanks to Seattle to visit me and hang out while we waited for the baby, and she brought her beads....

And I discovered I liked beading.  I'd make her put the clasps on, and then I'd try to figure it out.  I finally got to the point where I could actually do my own end parts and earrings...  Back then, I avoided seed beads like they were the plague.  They were so tiny!

I was scared to death of seed beads, and I hate needles.  So I figured out I could use bigger beads. and I wasn't as scared of them.  In fact, I discovered I LOVE crystals- so shiny.

And now my oldest daughter is 9 years old!  I've been beading for nine years.

That's crazy.  I certainly never expected beads to dominate my life as much as it does now.  I never expected to own a bin of seed beads.  Or to be selling my own designs.  And if you told me ten years ago what I'd be doing today I would have laughed at you.

Isn't life funny?  Things that are just supposed to be for a little bit end up taking up so much of our lives...  I'm thankful I discovered beads, and their ability to enthrall me.  I'm thankful for the improved relationship with my sister that beads engendered.  I'm thankful for the money I make selling my jewelry.  (not that I'm making a ton)  I'm thankful for the beading friends I've made.

What started out as a bad thing (getting stuck on bed rest), became the inspiration and beginning place for me of a life-long love of beads, and the desire to learn more about jewelry-making: metal-smithing, polymer clay, wire work.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Smiles

On Saturdays I post about something that has made me smile this past week.

This week I have been thinking about the fabulous Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  She hosts a mega-awesome event called the Bead Soup Blog Party.  This is the fourth time I have had the pleasure of participating in her party, and I love it!!!

She pairs you up with another beader, and you trade bead soup!  Oh, the fear and trepidation!  I've had fabulous soup partners, and one so-so soup partner.  But it is always fun.  The challenge is to create something wonderful with what you receive.  Every time I've done this it has been a big challenge.  I end up with materials I never would have imagined using, and then have to figure out how to use them...  I don't have to use all the beads my partner sends, but I do have to use the focal and the clasp.

So far, I have been lucky/blessed to receive beautiful beads, just nothing I would have chosen for myself.  Last time, I made this necklace after receiving amazing art beads from Sharon Driscoll at Right Turn Art Werks:

The time before that I was paired up with Pamela Petry who sent me the cutest birdie pendant.  And I made this necklace:

This time there are 400 beaders involved in Lori's party!  Isn't that crazy???  There are so many that Lori divided our reveal dates up so that everyone who wanted to could participate.  I am in the very last group, so my reveal date isn't until August 25th.  I am so excited!

As soon as I receive my beads from my newest partner, I will let you all in on the surprise...  It's so hard to wait....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My New Best Friend

(My foot on the night we went to Urgent Care)

So...  About 5 weeks ago, I was limping around on my left foot.  It hurt, and I couldn't figure out what I'd done.  My husband drove me to the Urgent Care downtown (since I refused the ER), and a doctor looked at it, took x-rays and pronounced me fit with a mild bruise.

But the stupid thing kept HURTING.  And making life very difficult.  I went to my doctor, who sent me to a podiatrist last week.  And I've got a stress fracture up high on the smallest toe.  Right where the number 5 is in this diagram of the foot from Web MD:

  And now I've got one of these, my new best friend:
And I hate it.  It's heavy, and it hurts, and it makes the toes on my left foot go numb after I've worn it for an hour.  But I think the bone is healing.  It's supposed to keep me from putting pressure on the bone while I'm walking.

The ridiculous thing is that it's summer.  In Alaska.  The ONLY months I like to do stuff outside up here (like garden, go hiking, take walks, ride my bike, go camping...), and I'm stuck in this stupid boot waiting for my toe to heal.  I'll probably be stuck in the boot right up until the snow starts falling in October.  Ha!  Okay.  I'm not really that pessimistic about it, but it is frustrating that I didn't wait to do whatever I did when I want to stay inside and sit on my tuckus all day.

And I'm still not sure what I did to my poor foot.  That was the week I was teaching VBS and running around like a headless chicken with little 4 & 5 year olds trailing behind me like ducklings...  I was climbing up some ladders, and moving tables around.  And I took my shoes off, which I know better than to do...  So that's probably what did it.  Either that or I'm just getting old!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lori's Give-Away at Pretty Things

Lori Anderson is having the most awesome give-away ever on her blog Pretty Things.  I want to win!  But if I don't win, I think you should.
How come I never win anything??  Just curious... 
I take it back.  Once, when I lived in Fort Worth I won something on the radio.  A check for a little bit of money.  Pretty cool.
But I've never won anything since then.  And that was about 14 years ago.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

M.A.D.D. Camp

I just got back from camp!  I loved it, and am very happy I got to be part of something so cool and exciting. 
I haven't gotten to teach drama in a while, and I got to teach at Camp Bingle in the Harding Lake area last week.  What an honor and a privilege.
This week was called M.A.D.D. camp, for Music, Art, Drama, Dance; and the kids got to choose from 8 different electives.  I had the pleasure of teaching both of the drama classes. 

I saw a moose up close and personal, slept for a wee bit each night, and got to love on about 20 teens. 
I hate how shy I am!  You'd think I'd be over it by now. I'm 40!  But stick me in a casual hang-out social setting and I'm pathetic.  I can click into confident mode when I teach, but have a very difficult time getting over my shyness during meal time or hang out time.  I'd like to not have this issue, but that's just the way I function.  I'm better than I used to be... 

The most difficult part of the camp was the work-out.  The camp is built on the hills surrounding Harding Lake, and everywhere you go is either up or down.  You go to the shower house up-hill, then go back to your cabin down-hill.  Then go to breakfast down-hill, then back up to your cabin.  Then the class I taught first was further up-hill...  I think you get the idea.
My calves are pretty impressive after one week.  I'm curious to know what an entire summer would have done to my legs...  =)