Thursday, January 26, 2012

Atlanta Jewelry Making Group - Meetup…

I've joined a new Meetup group...The vision for this new group is a monthly gathering for jewelry enthusiasts to get together, make jewelry, teach each other new skills, and eventually come up with a plan to incorporate jewelry-making with giving back to our community. We hope to work with different women's organizations/shelters/non-profits and volunteer our time to teach others our jewelry making skills. I will be sharing my own experiences and tips on selling jewelry on Etsy. If you are in the greater Atlanta area and would like to join the group, please follow the link below to sign up and join our first meeting.

Our first meeting will be on the 1st of February at 7:00 PM, at a great little coffee shop in Atlanta. This will be our Kick-off meeting to get to know one another and also discuss our expectations of what we’d like to accomplish each time we meet.

During each meetup, at least one person will show how to make something. At this first meet up, our organizer (Shama) will show how to use a crimp bead and crimp tool to attach clasps to necklaces/bracelets. It might be very basic for many of you, but for those who haven’t made jewelry before, it would be a great starting point.

If you have any connections to an Atlanta area non-profit/shelter that would benefit from voluntary jewelry classes, please share in the comments area below.

Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Sale Event...

As part of my “fresh start” effort this year, I am cleaning out the clutter and releasing some of the baggage that has been weighing me down. I mean this figuratively and literally. I get this yearning to lighten the load about every 5 years.

Examples of items currently On Sale in my shop.

So, to jump-start my effort I’m reorganizing my jewelry studio and offering 15% off the price of everything in my Etsy shop. That’s right…everything. I need to make space for my new materials and direction I want to take with my Etsy shop. I love making lampwork beads; I’m just ready to try something new this year.

I hope you can take advantage of the sale….Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are just around the corner. Sale ends at 5:00 PM EST Tuesday January 31st.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

I won the lottery!

Yippee, I was selected (by lottery) to participate in the 5th Bead Soup Blog Party!
Here’s the scoop; each jewelry designer is paired with another jewelry designer and tasked with sending their partner the following:
  • - A focal
  • - A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)
  • - Some coordinating spacers or beads
 Using the focal and the clasp is mandatory, but I can use anything from my own stash to come up with a design for the event. My partner for this event is: Maria Rosa Sharrow from Willow Street Shops.
I’m curious to find out what she will be sending me….her materials and designs are very different from my jewelry designs.

My finished design from the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party.

But that’s the point of this event, the idea is to help you think outside the box and work outside your normal comfort zone, pushing you into creative directions you may never have gone. I’m sending Maria Rose a package of goodies I would love to use in a jewelry design challenge. I hope she likes them!
I’ll keep you posted on our progress….

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Looking for inspiration in new places....

Ask a painter for a great idea in "Red and White", and you’ll get an answer that involves paint. Ask a quilter for that great idea in red and white, and you’ll get a solution that involves sewing. Ask a scrap booker for the same great idea, and you’ll get a solution that involves scissors.

We’re all a product of our experience, but I find the creative limitations I have are self-imposed. They are false limits. Only when I force myself to look past projects that I’m good at or feel comfortable with, can I come up with the new creative ideas that I’m looking for.

By experience I’m a bead maker (lampwork) and jewelry designer. Lately I’ve felt creatively sluggish. I’m trying to be more open to everything creative. Stepping outside my comfort zone and studying how those in unrelated areas do what they do. What seems impossible today may seem surprisingly doable tomorrow. Etsy has been a great road map to new creativity. Here are some creative projects found on Etsy that I’d like to try…..

This year I’d like to learn how to knit. Every time I see an adorable photo like the one above, I long for the talent to make cute little bear hats. I learned to knit when I was a teenager, but had many distractions competing for my attention. I’d like to give it another go.

This year I’d also like to learn how to watercolor. I’ve always been attracted to the soft images and the muted colors of watercolors. I have tried to paint in the past but ended up with a muddy brown mess on the paper. I think I need a basics class.

Remember playing in the mud? Ceramics is a great outlet for the urge to get back into mud. I was a master mud pie maker, maybe I have talent for ceramics. Love the container above.

This spring I’d like to add some planters to the terrace. I’d love to learn how to use power tools to create designs like the planter featured above. Home Depot has a Do-it-Herself class, I think I'll join the power tool class.

If you recognize this creativity slump in yourself, don’t fret. In fact, rejoice! Knowing that it’s your own opinion holding you back is the first step toward breaking down the barriers of creativity.

How about you? What stifles your creativity? Let us know in the comments how you’ve handled it.

Items Featured in this Blog Post:

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Friday, January 6, 2012

For the Love of Barns....

#10 Logging My Favorites
This is the tenth installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even an event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

I love old barns; if you've ever driven through a rural area, it's likely that you've seen barns standing watch over the landscape. Have you ever taken the time to take a closer look at the barns as you travel the country side, or stop and walk through one?  

When a family farmed to subsist and feed their livestock, understanding of the soil and awareness of nature were essential parts of rural life. This fertile lifestyle inspired barns and outbuildings of solid grace - - structures that reflect the regional character with original designs by innovative builders.

I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did have access to the barns of family members in Indiana. I experienced many things in the barn. I watched animals being born, smelled the scent of fresh hay, milked the cows, shared secrets with my friends, and developed a love of nature. 

 Old barns were typically made of timber, and stone barns were built in certain areas where stone was a cheaper construction material. There are many different types of barns, namely horse barns, pole barns, carriage barns, etc. I find them all beautiful and each barn is unique. 

Why are most barns red?  There are several theories as to why barns are painted red, but in historically accurate terms, ready made paints were not available.  Farmers made their own red paint by adding ferrous oxide to the traditional mix of paint ingredients:  lime, linseed oil and milk to create their own version of long lasting red paint that acted as a quick drying wood preservative.

 Population explosion and the rise of agribusiness have caused the rapid disappearance of the small "family owned" farm. Unfortunately the need for these traditional structures has drawn to a close. What remains is an endangered species of splendid buildings that offer functional beauty and purity of design that once characterized the Farm way of life. 

Even though restoration of old houses is popular today, most barns of equal architectural merit and age have been ignored and seemed doomed. Yet people who take the time to befriend old barns will find that they hold many secrets, each one has its own charm and mystery.

 Adaptive use is the key to their preservation. For these proud structures to remain on any landscape their value must be recognized and adaptive new uses must be found. A small percentage of barns across the country have been lovingly restored and re-purposed to fit today’s needs.  The barn pictured above has been Turned into a lovely home.  I love old barns and I don’t want to see them disappear.

Next time you see an old barn off in the distance--close your eyes for a moment and imagine the laughter and tears echoing within.  Oh yes....I love old barns!

To see my Pinterest collection of fabulous photos - Barns Great and Small - click here.

Or cut and paste this address into your browser:

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lower the resolution bar...

Every New Year I make one or two resolutions.  I try to make them very-doable so I’m successful.  I found some easy suggestions listed below and thought I’d share them with you. With any one of these simple resolutions you could easily get in better shape and slow the aging process THIS year for a younger, more vibrant you. Take a look and see if one or more of these 2012 resolutions might appeal to you.

1.)   Up the Dietary Ante Little By Little -- Completely overhauling your diet all at once is hardly ever manageable unless you’re extremely motivated. For most of us, making small changes, one at a time, is more likely to result in a long-term improvement in our diet. Decide on one improvement you are going to make to your diet in 2012. It could be as simple as adding a daily dark leafy green vegetable, putting the salt shaker away or substituting water or tea for your afternoon soda. I’m going to cut bread out of my dinner menu.

 2.)  Keep in Touch -- Each day, send a note or an e-mail to an old friend you haven't been in contact with for quite a while, just to say, "Hi!, how are you, I'm thinking of you, remember when we...?" By the end of the year you'll have brought a smile to the face of friends, acquaintances and family members.  It is well known that staying socially active is one of the ways to stay youthful. 

3.)  Attempt Something New -- Do something new and different each and every day. It could be as simple as driving a new route to the store, visiting and exploring a new website, or trying a new recipe. On the other hand, it could be something more ambitious, like taking up a new hobby or traveling to a country or state you've never visited. 

4.)  Huff and Puff and ---Decide you are going to enjoy an aerobic activity that gets you out of breath, or at least breathing deeply. During your walk, for example, make sure there is a hill or steps in the middle of your session that makes you huff and puff as you climb. When we perform a physical activity for as little as 10 seconds, it signals the release of human growth hormone (Hgh) from the pituitary gland, Hgh will start the process of repair and regeneration of cells to fight free-radical damage and reverse the general aging of the cells of the body and brain. IMPORTANT: Always check with your health-care professional to make sure it is safe for you to perform strenuous exercise.

5.)   Exercise Your Mind -- Decide that in 2012 you will enjoy a mentally challenging game each day. It could be a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, KenKen or one of several other puzzle choices. If you don't have time to devote to solving one of these time-consuming mental games each day because of your very busy schedule, then take two or more days to complete the game. Just make sure to put in at least five minutes each day in working toward the solution. Your dendrites and axons will thank you with a sharp mind in the decades to come.

 There you have it. Five simple steps you can take to make 2012 your best year ever. Any one of these resolutions can be easily achieved -- a resolution you can keep for the whole year for a younger, more vital you. Or maybe you have your own idea of an easy-to-do New Year's Resolution that's just right for you in 2012. Please share your ideas…Happy New Year!

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