Monday, January 31, 2011

Bead Embroidery Update!

Good Morning!  As I type this the weather guessers are shaking their fingers warning us of a HUGE impending storm!  6" today and 12"-18" tomorrow... time to hunker down and BEAD!!!!  As long as my loved ones are home, I can enjoy the storm from the inside.

So while I sip cup after cup of glorious coffee watching the snowflakes fall, I wanted to give you an update on my bead embroidery education.  I learn in a variety of methods, so the book I had gotten last week The Art of Bead Embroidery, by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini appeared to be the last component of learning for my brain.  And it's worked!  Between the Youtube video's I've watch, a video from Fire Mountain Gems and this book, I busted out the seed beads and away I did weave!

I figured I would start simple, learning the techniques and just having fun building something as I see it, rather than all drawn out and formal.  I started with a black bead cabachon and created a bezel around it.  I let the colors flow as they wished and kept the stitching around the cab.  After finishing a few rounds of beads, it looked simple, classy and just right (almost).  Hmmm, I was so worried about the front I hadn't placed much thought into my backing.... enter the grey ultra suede skirt that fit me a bazillion years ago that I know will never fit again but I could never get rid of it.  Now I know why... I whipped out my Fiskers and viola... repurposed into a beautiful backing for my pendant! 

Wait, wait... that doesn't look quite finished.  No, it needed some SPARKLE (I'm a freak about bling!)  And I needed to learn how to make fringe... so a few beads, some bling and now it was the perfect pendant!  I was really pleased with how it turned out.  As my first ever attempt at bead embroidery, I'm keeping this piece as my very own forever and ever.  :)  When I embarked upon my beading journey several years ago, I never thought I'd be able to create a little piece of art like this!  I can honestly say I surprised myself!

If you're wanting to learn bead embroidery, I'd encourage you to check out the book The Art of Bead Embroidery.  Both women have slightly different methods, but learning and seeing both really helped me to "get it" and translate into what works for me!
Hope your week is warm, wonderful and filled with LOTS of creative inspirations!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pictures of Christmas

Thanks all for the Christmas wishes yesterday!  LOL  We had a DANDY lunch... full of laughter and catching up on all the latest juicy girl talk... you know the drill!  So despite the 38 snowflakes we had (which was just Mother Nature's way of reminding us she's still listening) we had a great time!

Before I show you a photo of the jewelry I made for Angela, I want to share a bit about her.  Angela is an RN that works in a rehabilitation facility down in Rockford.  Her specialty was helping patients that had serious spinal cord injuries that permanently changed their lives.  Fast Forward... She had a serious accident a few years ago that resulted in her becoming a spinal cord patient receiving the therapy she had been giving.  Life can change in an instant.  I admire Angela's spirit... she lets NOTHING get in her way or keep her down.  After much therapy, she's still working at the facility, but her job duties have changed.  She has a new level of respect and admiration for her patients as she's been in their shoes too!  They all relate to her and often form friendships and a support team for when they go back home. 

As a way to supplement her income and surround herself in positivity as she healed, she became a beauty consultant with Mary Kay.  The way the women pick each other up is inspiring.  Plus being able to share beauty with woman across the globe brings out a glow in women that nothing can compare with.

So as I thought of Angela, I wanted a piece that demonstrated natural beauty, strength and elegance.  Something that she could wear to a professional function with Mary Kay, or at work on the days she's doing administrative work.  SO without further adieu... here's my interpretation of Angela in jewelry form!

Hope you take a moment today to tell a dear friend how special they are.  Friendships and life are priceless, so cherish those that are close to you.  Life can change in an instant!

Peace & Love to you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Still Christmas Somewhere

Right?  I have emerged from the depths of quickbooks... I can still see, I'm breathing and I am not yet committed to a rubber room... BONUS!  So today, I'm getting together with one of my very best girlfriends ever for our Christmas celebration.  DON'T LAUGH!

Every time she and I plan on getting together, it snows.  Well there was no snow in the forecast for today (however as I glance out the window... sure enough, it's snowing.)  But look at the radar and it shows nothing... can you believe it? 

So today is our Christmas and I'm so excited to get together with A.  She & I have been dearest friends since we were 14 years old.  We've gone through so much together and always been there for each other.  Laughter, tears, loss and joy.  She actually participated in my open house last November (to see a photo from then, click here).

Tomorrow I'll have a photo for you... but for today, I'm just wishing you a boatload of sunshine and love!

Hope your day is superb!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Necessary Evil

'Tis that time of year again!  (insert doom-sounding drumroll here)... Tax time for businesses... ughhh!  Yes, I've never been the earlybird when it comes to "updating" the bookkeeping system... but it is now time, and I mustn't delay or I will most definitely turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight - and then my butt would most certainly look big in a gigantic orange suit!  And that would be just bad.

So today, I am married to my Quickbooks... I have stiff, stiff cups of coffee flowing intravenously into my veins, I've got the shades drawn and I'm practicing to be a hermit - NO fun!

I'll be back soon (I hope)... or Chris will summon all of you for help to get my head out of the wall!  Hope your week is full of creativity... and not as mundane as mine must (required by law) start out to be.  Because if it was my choice, I'd be hopping the first plane to a tropical paradise with all of you... and those hunky cabana boys, yeah, they'd be waiting with fruity drinks the moment we got off the plane!  Promise!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Learning and Growing

I could have kissed the mailman today... but I didn't.  First because he brought the mail to my door so I didn't have to drag my butt down the driveway to the mail box in -6 degree weather.  Can I get a Woot Woot for an excellent mailman?  :o)

Not only that, but he brought me a new book... and for me, I'm like a sponge and I can't wait to learn new things.  I've been admiring seed bead jewelry for a very long time.  It took me a long time to muster up the courage to break out those tiny little seed beads with my needle and thread to play.  I didn't know if I'd have the patience to make things with seed beads.

But once I started... oh boy, there's been no stopping me!  I love learning new stitches, pairing different bead types with seed bead components I've created.  BUT my grand awakening is to learn how to do bead embroidery.   From the moment I saw her Art Jewelry, I have been inspired to learn "How To" from my good friend Juli Cannon.  I love her lampwork, but her bead embroidery pieces bedazzle me.  My eyes kind of spin circles and get all glazed over every time she posts a new piece.  I admire her designs and they spur mental pictures in my brain of pieces that are destined to come from my beads! There's no limit to the creative touches you can add to pieces by learning such skills!
See what I'm talking about... this is GORGEOUS and then some!
 I've watch bunches of youtube videos, but for me, I prefer a good hard-copy printed book!  And that my dear friends is what got delivered today.

So while I continue to learn, I wanted to share with you which book I picked up.  Love the way both authors Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini teach all the stitches, love the photos and the practice projects.  I picked up some Lacy's Stiff Stuff and a 1" cuff from just a few weeks back so I'm all ready to start!  I can't wait to show you what I come up with!

Be Inspired!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone

Old shoes, favorite jeans, mac & cheese, fleece blankets ... all provide so much comfort and if you're like me, you could live in the Land of Comfort and not look back!  BUT, as an artisan, I know it's imperative to step out of the L.o.C. once in a while in order to grow.

This being said, I'm going to bare my soul to you all right now... I have a very, very hard time with rejection.  I love peace and happiness, and I like it when everything is going along beautifully.  The word that I have still not overcome in my life is hearing the word "No."

In some respects I know that's a good thing.  Don't tell me I can't do something because I will prove you wrong.  But when it comes to the pieces of jewelry I design, those pieces come from my heart.  So when I put them out there for the world to see, there's always that moment of "what if someone doesn't like it!"  gasp  While the logical, intelligent side of me knows that everybody has different tastes and you can't please everybody, the soft tender soul in me just wants everybody to feel all happy and inspired when they see, feel, wear a Designs by Dawn Marie original.

Why do I spill... well, I'm putting it out there that my goal for 2011 is to be more "active" in the bead community.  This involves putting my designs up for gasp votes and critique from the public!  Yikes!  I could crawl back in bed with a bowl of ice cream as I type this!  Yes, I have never entered my jewelry in any sort of contest or tried to be published in a magazine.  While it's a tremendous goal of mine to find my name in print somewhere (preferably not the speeding tickets in our local paper) in order to get there I have to take that HUGE step of submitting a Designs by Dawn Marie original piece.

Just the other day, I saw my friend Regina with Sundance Gems post on her blog about a contest through Happy Mango Beads.  Happy Mango is so generous, anybody can enter regardless of who supplies your beads and supplies.  The theme of this contest is Be(ad) My Valentine!  Since I love LOVE I have deemed this the perfect contest to enter to help me through my self-imposed "rejection therapy!"

So there you have it... one of my biggest fears laid out there for you.  I know we are always our own worst critics, but I know I can't possibly be the only one!  Who knows... maybe once I submit an entry to this contest, I'll find the courage to submit a piece to a printed publication... it remains to be seen!

Thanks for being in my corner (and for reading this whole darn post!)  You inspire me and I can't wait to share what I create for this contest!

Make it a terrific day! {Hugs!}
~ Dawn

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sharing BIG Savings on Eye Glasses with you!

My New Glasses
Today I'm deeming Make the Most of it MONDAY!!!!  About 2 weeks ago, I had my regular eye exam to see how much better my eyes have changed.  LOL  This time, they had changed just a little bit.  YEAH!  That's progress.  While my glasses would work to use the old prescription... I mentioned that I noticed when I am working with tiny little seed beads that my eyes feel exhausted.  Of course common sense says take more breaks and rest the eyes.  But I really would prefer to have the correct prescription for driving at night and things.

So I chose to keep the current frames I have and get just new lenses.... thinking it would be more affordable. Imagine my shock after the woman entered my new prescription in the computer, and said with the exam the total would be $270+ - YIKES!  Seriously, using the frames I already own?  I don't have bifocals or expensive lenses either... just your basic, single vision prescription lens.

 So I had the tech order the trial contact lenses (because my astigmatism has changed) so I could try them and see if I wanted to order new contacts.  I also asked her to print out my glasses prescription so I could ponder it.

Enter my cousin Lexi...
Lexi had gotten glasses online from a company called Zenni Optical numerous times.  Once you have your prescription from the eye doctor you can order dirctly from them.  They have every style of glasses you can imagine and can handle everything from single vision to bifocals and prescription sun glasses!  Plus, they are really, really affordable.

I uploaded a picture of me without any glasses on and it let me "try on" different pairs so I could see how they fit my face.  I selected an artsy purple pair that has crystals all along the arms.  I figured what did I have to loose... can you believe, including shipping, WITH the anti-reflection coating that Shopko was charging $50 PER lens for - YIKES... my entire pair of glasses came to $22.90!!!!!  They also came with a great hard case and microfiber lens cleaning cloth!  They arrived in just a week and the prescription is perfect!

So for those of you that need glasses, but don't have hundreds of $$ to spend OR you have kids that are in glasses (I can't even imagine the cost of that)... or you just like to have multiple pairs to go with different outfits, I highly recommend Zenni Optical

**Note:  I'm sharing this because of my positive experience.  I am not an affiliate or being compensated in any way for sharing my opinion.**
 ***P.S.  That necklace I'm modeling is a Designs by Dawn Marie Original with a JulsBeads Focal, Available in my Etsy Store! ***

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tip about a Giveaway!

Photo Courtesy of SoftFlex
Over the next few days, I'm going to be spending some WONDERFUL time with one of my cousin's that's coming to stay with me.  So I'll be away from the computer... BUT before I go, I wanted to share with you a great giveaway that's going on right now.

My friend Sara with SoftFlex is hosting a giveaway that ends TOMORROW (Thursday).  In exchange for your comments and opinions of which jewelry and beading blogs you follow, Softflex is giving away a pair of their AMAZING professional pliers!

To enter, head over to SoftFlex's Blog and share your comments!

SoftFlex beading wire is so strong, it is the ONLY beading wire approved by QVC HSN for use in any of their beaded jewelry designs! I have a package of their Valentine's Trio which I'm so looking forward to creating with.  The pink in their is right in line with Pantone's Honeysuckle color for this spring!  We'll see what the mind creates!

I wish you all luck and hope the rest of your week is fabulous!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Family Member

I'm so happy to write this post... grab a quick cup of java and prepare yourself for a story with a happy ending.

Dad & Riley Nov. '08
Back in December (2 weeks before Christmas) my Mom & Dad had to kiss their beloved Riley good-bye for one final time before he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.  Riley wasn't just a dog, he was a member of our family.  He had health challenges for a number of years, but he had just turned 8.  And as small dogs go, you never expect their lives to be short.  But as fall turned to winter, Riley's heart grew heavy and ultimately he was called home to Heaven.

While Christmas was wonderful having all of us kids home, and the grandkids, there was something missing for Mom & Dad.  At the end of the day, when the slippers and jammies were on, there was a silence... something was missing.

After the holidays the quiet & loneliness really set in.  During the day, the house was really quiet... there's something about sharing a home with another living breathing creature that just makes it warmer.  At night, when Dad came home from work, there was no little Riley waiting at the top of the stairs to kiss him.

But the loss was sooooooo hard, and their hearts needed to heal.  Riley was so special to Mom & Dad.  He's the only dog my Dad has ever owned.  He was everything to my Dad.  Could he ever love another dog like he loved Riley?

And then they received a message - a sign - that just maybe the best way to heal was to bring another dog home and shower it in love.  They received an e-mail from their veterinarian, a vert trusted vet and friend.  She knew about a breeder that had a litter of puppies that were a championship bloodline.  They had one female left and she's 4 months old.  The vet has been seeing the parents (both dog and human) for generations with their Cavaliers.  She gave them the name and phone number of the breeders.

Mom calls to tell me about them.  Like a good daughter, I look up the breeders on the web and find a video of the last two females they had in the litter.  The puppies were precious.  They were the same breed as Riley, but a different color.  Could those little girls warm Mom & Dad's hurting hearts?
Proud Papa

One look at the video had my Dad giddy as a kid at Christmas.  It was as if you had refilled his vitamins.  He had bounce in his step and a true twinkle in his eye.  And he hadn't even met the pup in person yet! 

Well today was the day.  They went down to meet the breeders, the puppy, and the parent dogs.  The owners were beyond generous, so kind and truly passionate about their dogs.  They too treat their Cavaliers as family members.  When they send a puppy to a home, it's as if a member of their family is moving out.  There is a happiness for the puppy starting their new lives with wonderful owners, but a sadness as their little one is moving on.

It took only moments for this little girl to melt Mom & Dad's heart.  They knew she was meant to be theirs.  She nuzzled into my Mom's neck.  Her sister in the litter (whom the owners are keeping) was beyond playful and showed off just how much love the owners have been giving all the pups.

Hugs were exchanged and Mom & Dad brought LUCY home!  Lucy is a snuggler.  We stopped over to meet the new baby, felt we should be bringing some dog bone cigars to celebrate the arrival.  The best part is seeing how in an instant, how the love of a dog can make so many people smile.  How she can bring peace to a grieving home and how she makes us all feel so very important.
Mom, Dad & Baby Lucy

I promised you a happy ending!  I know Mom & Dad are happy, but I'm over the moon with happiness that they both have that fuzzy warm little bundle of fur there to shower them with kisses every morning and waggles every night!

Chris snuggling with little Lucy
Hope your weekend is filled with happiness and love.... and if you have fur babies like my family does.... give them an extra pat from me!

{Hugs & Love!}

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Beads are Talking

Focal Bead Created By Julianna Cannon - JulsBeads
In my brain... yes, I think they're whooping it up in there singing We are the Champions, We are the Champions, there's no time for... ♫ you get the drift?  I was able to snap some pictures yesterday while the sun was all beautiful and such... and then got turned sideways and upside down and by then the sun set.  So the mission continues... stay focused, but not too focused.

I have to focus enough to make some dandy new creations - BUT - not too focused that I accumulate 1,493 pieces that all need to be photographed and listed in my store.  In helping to "organize" (and I use that term loosely" my designs and my work space, I've noticed my designing goes in spurts.  Sometimes I'm just jamming on the strung and wire wrapped pieces.  Other weeks the seed beads massage my back, and sweet talk me so I give them all my attention.  I know these two styles often appeal to different people, so in my infinite search of "organization" I'm trying to spotlight these pieces in different ways.

Make Sense?

Dandy!  So now, that you have a little sneak peek into the elves in my brain that never stop working (bless those elves) I'm going to let them get back to work as I enjoy just oneeeee more cup of coffee!

What's on tap for your weekend?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Grand Intentions for 2011

99% of the time I start a new year with a similar goal... be more committed to exercising and eating better.  I can't help it I love oreos and sometimes Mac & Cheese just gets the best of me.  Usually my appetite beats out common sense and I set the work out DVDs aside in lieu of doing much more enlightening things... such as __________ (fill in the blank with whatever you want.)

So this year, dag nab it, I'm really going to do it... but do it my way, Dawn Style.  SO I've started out the new year doing osmosis exercising.  You see, I put that workout DVD under my pillow and away I went.  I haven't had a problem sticking to it yet!!!

I wake up so refreshed and feel better already for sticking to it.  Actually, it's working so well I think I'm going to start my own club - Osmosis Exercise by Dawn... anybody in?

Okay, back to the grapefruit... Hope your New Year is Wonderful!!!  P.S. Are you a resolution setter or not?


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