Saturday, April 27, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Week 17: Color, Week 15: Aged Beauty

Am back again on track with the photo challenge. Had been busy the last 3 weekends. Will try to make up for it this time :-)

Week 17 first...Color.
How does color affect my mood? Profoundly! It brings an instant smile, a real happy one, and brightens up my day.
What made my birthday bright and sunshiny was this drawing my youngest niece sent to me

The drawing has everything I like...colors, lots of them, and a huge naughty smile :-)

The crocheted ball is something I picked up at the San Jose Amtrak station on my way to Santa Barbara. I have no clue what I will do with it...but I had to get it...see how vibrant the colors energetic it makes you feel

This has been the easiest challenge for me. I cannot imagine a world without color, thankfully I don't live in a cold, snowy place. I would not like that much.

To see more colors...head on to Sally blog.

I have one more set of pictures to share...for week 15.
Aged Beauty.
I had to think quite a bit for this, trying to think of the oldest thing I have. I tried to remember what I had brought with me when I moved here in 1997, and I had my subject.

This is my Dad's briefcase. I brought my "important papers", diplomas, certificates, etc in it. And used it to store more paperwork as it accumulated...until I bought a filing box.

This briefcase brought back so many memories. My dad is enjoying retirement now, but in his younger days, he was a force to reckon with.

Scuffed as it is, it still reminds me of those days...when I was daddy's little girl, totally in awe of her superman daddy (and two things these are still true :-) I even bought a mini version of this bag when I started working at my first job. Sweet days, those were! I miss my daddy, can't wait to see him again!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Button for the anklet blog hop

Trying to figure out how to make a button out of this picture for the participants to grab and use on their blogs.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and steps, and for putting up my image yourself on your blogs! 

Roxanne of Roxi Designs jumped in to help and made the button for me. Its on the sidebar now, with code and all :-)

Thank you, Roxanne :-)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Anklet blog hop participant list!

Alright peeps! The sign-ups for the anklet blog hop is officially closed, and here is the impressive list of participants :-)

The reveal is on June 1st!
Happy creating, ladies!

Name  Blog
Kashmira Patel
Kaushambi Shah Will post on Kashmira's blog
Jean Wells
Mischelle Fanucchi
Shellie Grindie
Ginger Bishop
Monique U
Cynthia Machata
Kay Thomerson
Mimi Gardner
Anindita Basu
Rita (Toltec Jewels)
Gina Hockett
Tammie Everly
Jessica Murray
Dyanne Cantrell
Ema Kilroy
Emma Todd
K Morgan
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
Cheri Reed
Rochelle Brisson
Michelle Buettner
Sandra McGriff
Stephanie Weiss
Shelley Graham Turner
Vickie Foley
Lynda Carson
Roxanne Mendoza

Monday, April 15, 2013

Summer Anklet Blog Hop Sign Ups

Thanks to everyone who responded to my previous post, I have decided to host a very simple blog hop where participants create anklets!

Anklets are favorites of mine since childhood! You can read all about it here...

Here's my current usable collection, I have a few more, but some are tarnished, and others I can't find, including a really beautiful pair (yes, we wear them in pairs in India, on both feet) a friend's mom gave me. Hmmm...and these are all gifts too! The last one is a very traditional Indian one that my mom sent to me a couple years back.

While thinking up what the challenge should be about...I started thinking about the construction of anklets. They are a lot like bracelets...or you could even say they are bracelets. But there are a few key things to remember about the construction.

The ankle is almost cylindrical in shape. So the anklet must "flow" well. Nothing sharp or too big that will prevent it from draping well. I suppose that is what makes chain the best thing to use for them.

The other thing...the ankle is bony. So again, nothing that will hurt. Bicone crystals, sharp chips..these things might hurt. Or maybe not. I just have not bought anything with something like this.

The shape of the ankle makes it very suitable for some lacy type of designs, like the last one in the photo above. The top chain is narrow, and the design flares out as it progresses towards the foot. (Not sure I am making any sense at all)

Lastly, feet do tend to swell during the day, so anklets should not be too tight. 

Would love to hear other ideas about anklet design!

The photo above tells me that one of my favorite "ingredient" in any design is missing. Color!
So the one and only rule in this challenge: there should be a good amount of color!

Here's the when and how of this challenge then...

Sign up period
I will be taking sign-ups until April 22nd. I will be writing to folks who had responded to the previous post to confirm their participation.

Reveal Date
Most folks I spoke to said end of May worked best for them, as it does for me. So...the reveal date will be June 1st.

How To Sign Up
Leave a comment and an email address for me to reach you. My comments are moderated, so if you do not want me to publish the email address, do let me know. You will still be signed up :)

  • Make one or many colorful anklets!
  • Try to use unusual materials instead of just chain or hemp (this is just a suggestion, not a requirement)
  • As a stretch goal, completely optional, make a Polyvore set with your anklet featured!

Some ladies said their feet are not worthy of anklets. Pardon me, but that's rubbish :P
Feet are the hardest working parts of our bodies, they need some loving too. And trust me, once you wear one of these, every time you look at your feet, you will smile. And if you put those little bells that all Indian ones have, then every time you walk, you will make beautiful music :)

So who wants to play along? This is my first time hosting a blog hop, so I know I will make mistakes (and hopefully learn from them!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Summer Jewelry! And an idea for a blog hop :)

Now that spring is finally here, summer and beach days can't be too far behind!
Am already in my skirts, tank tops and flip flops :)

Yesterday I was late to a big townhall type meeting at work, so was sitting on the floor, listening to the information given to us..and observing the footwear of people sitting on chairs around me. (I know, I pay so much attention to the important things ;-))

I saw this foot in polka dotted ballet flats, and a tiny little bell from an anklet peeking out! This brought back a huge flood of memories from my childhood! I went to a strict, "no-jewelry" convent school, and so come summer holidays, all kinds of adornments would come out. One of my favorite things to wear was something like this

Mine were not this thick, just a single layer of silver bells, but they were awesome. Made such lovely sound...for about a week. After which, it got annoying, and I would take it off.

Fast forward a lot of years ahead, and I was gifted my first hemp anklet by someone when I went to grad school. And thus started a life long love affair! I have good collection of anklets, but all basic chain and in silver. Not sure why, but I forgot all about them for the last couple years. That little polka dotted foot has unleashed that long lost love again.

And especially now, that I can make my own, I am thrilled beyond bits!
I have always had a mental block about making bracelets, but I think this one won't face that problem. Hoping to make something soon. And yes, am wearing my favorite one today :-)

Am wondering if anyone would be up for an anklet blog hop?
 I'll host if folks are game!

In the mean time...these are a few designs that I loved on etsy:

And am in love with this shop, she has a 110 anklets listed! Enough to drive me nuts!!! Am definitely buying a few from here:

Coral Brass Chain Anklet

I created a treasury for anklets...and just figured out how to embed it here by using the Etsy Treasury HTML Code Generator.

Featured here is another of my favorite stores: LivJewellery

'Anklets!' by Sadafulee

Awesome fun for the summer!

Lunar Beaded Brass Anklet

Jasper Brass Chain Anklet

Silver Bell Anklet

Fringe Sterling Silver Ankle...

Gemstone Anklet Apatite Mult...

Beaded Anklet, Yellow and Wh...

Sunflower Yellow Czech Glass...

Pearl Anklet Colour Block Go...

Turquoise Brass Chain Anklet

Rose Quartz Bead Brass Ankle...

Butterfly Charm Anklet Yello...

Pearl Anklet Copper Rose Kes...

Yellow anklet, tatted anklet...

Black and Red Anklet

Beaded Pearl Slave Anklet, B...

Red Silver Victorian Lace Be...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fresh Shop: Fresh Baked Jewelry!

I think I would like to start a new series of posts on my blog: Fresh Shop to feature brand new shops (and I can't find a totally new shop, then at to me!). Whether this will be weekly or monthly is yet to be decided.

So to kick this off...let me introduce to you: Lynda Carson of Fresh Baked Designs!
She has been successfully selling her art in stores around Southern California, and to quote her jumped into the "Deep End Of The Pool" last month, and opened her brand new, fresh etsy store:

I have been a quiet follower/lurker on Lynda's blog since the beginning of this year, when I "discovered" her through the January Art Bead Scene Challenge

I was hooked!

Lynda is a very versatile designer...she works with just about everything!
Exquisite wire-work, cotton and silk, metal texture, alcohol inks and prints, and all of this in the most gorgeous colors! She even makes her own polymer components!

But here's the kicker: Lynda is a supporter and volunteer at Amor Ministries for some years now. Along with her husband, she has helped build homes for families in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Tijuana, and once at the San Carlos Apache Reservation near Globe, Arizona.

Apart from donating hard work, she has also created a line of jewelry called Pure Water Designs. 100% of the profits from this line goes towards buying water purification systems for these families in Tijuana...these last pretty much their entire lifetime, and we all know how important water is!

And there is more!!! She also supports fundraising for communities in Ghana by using the beautiful Krobo beads in a lot of her creations:

Now if you know me, you know what a sucker I am for anyone and anything going beyond what's expected to make the world better. So Lynda is definitely on my list of favorite people!

So go on and take a look at what fresh baked goodness she has!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How an Earring Swap Helped Me Overcome My Creative Block

This year started off with a creative bang, with me participating in the Art Bead Scene Challenge for January, and the Art Jewelry Elements weekly earring challenge. I was on track with all of that, but there was a monkey wrench thrown in my plans. I finally went to a "hand" doctor for pain in my thumb that I had been experiencing since last September. Thumb tendonitis it was, with at least 6 weeks of therapy. I got done with it in the first week of March, and I thought I would be raring to go once again. I went to my beading area, looked at the supplies, and felt nothing. At all. Was one very sad moment for me. I decided to organize the space, thinking the clean area will help. Everything got put away in new drawers, and yet nothing.

Then, I saw these earrings on my friend's Michelle's Facebook page, and I fell in love. I needed them!

So I asked her if they were for sale, she said not these, but she could make me another pair in the color of my choice, for one of my creations in exchange. I was totally game for it! These are really pretty colored lava beads, she didn't even have more in stock. So she combed the internet, and found a source, bought the bestest colors and offered me a choice from these, truly yummy colors!

It was SO hard to make a decision:

This is what I wrote back to her when I finally made a choice:
"I was hoping you would have purple, which you do, but now I am like...oh, I don't have yellow...or peach...or :-)
But then, I don't have any clothes in yellow or pink either. I LOVE the green, but I do have some nice green earrings. So now i have to decide between purple and mauve. I think I will stick to purple. Although the peachy mauve IS my favorite of all. But purple wins

While she was busy with the purple lava beads, my mind suddenly came alive, and I knew what I was going to make for her even before I got home from work! That night, I was finally able to design again! I put together the design, and set it out on my new beading tray to work on it the next 6am! Not only did I make her pair, I also made two more new designs within that hour! I cannot thank her enough for this timely intervention!

She quickly made these for me:

 They are SO pretty, they actually inspired me to get all dressed up and go find a friend to take a pic of me wearing them!

Her requirement for what I make was...something with color, and something short. Color is not a problem at all...but that was definitely a challenge! But like I said before, this time the ideas came to me very quickly, and I made these:

And here she is, rocking them!

Isn't she gorgeous!!!

Michelle and I met through the blog world...she does the most amazing work with sterling silver (her earwires were recently featured in Stringing Magazine!), and holds a Graduate Pearls Diploma from GIA. Her designs have been published many times over, and she has the best free tutorials ever on her blog! I searched through my emails to see when and how we started talking, and it was when she had put up a tutorial on making hoops on her blog, and I asked her for some more tips. She was more than generous with her knowledge, and quite the expert in what she does. She is really good with pearls, and I have recommended she write an eBook sharing her knowledge. And I have reason to believe she just might be working on one!

She has a store on etsy as well (MiShel Designs), a very well stocked one, with lots of beautiful versatile designs.
I secretly wanted this one after we decided she would make me the lava ones ;-) And now the secret's out and she knows ;-) But I do love the ones I got :-)

See those gorgeous earwires in there! Yummy! (click on picture to go to her store)

So go on over and see what other gorgeousness she has made up!
Oh, and here's the link to a post she did about our swap...

Shel, this was fun, and a huge help to me :-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Birthday Gift!

Hey y'all :-)

Its the first week of April, and it dawned on me that it'll soon be my birthday!
And since this year, I have a real shop on etsy, I am thrilled to share my excitement with you (yeah, I will be excited like a 5 yr old even on my 70th birthday, I am sure of that!)

So...what's the gift? A promotion running through the month of April 2013.

Use coupon code BIRTHDAY2013 to get a 13% discount! And there is a surprise offer that you will get when you purchase something!
(I did think of making the % same as my age, but, ahem, I am quite old ;-)

And a reminder that all proceeds from the sales in my shop benefit the kids of Project Why! So its a win-win for everyone! You get a great deal and a bunch of good Karma comes for free ;-)

So head on over to the store...

Here are some of my favorite things in the store right now...

See you there and thank you for the birthday wishes :P

Friday, April 5, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Up Close!

I skipped Week 13 ~ Keep The Faith. Sowwy! :(

The topic for week 14, I think, is every photographer's favorite. The macro shot!

Sally says:

"Start exploring the details of the ordinary up close and
glimpse a world that you may never have noticed until you observed it magnified!  Get up close and personal with the subject of your choice and snap a macro shot!   
How close can you get?"

 This is definitely a challenge, for both the lens and the eye behind the lens. The lens is challenged with presenting the minutest detail it is capable of. The lens, however, shows everything the way it is. It does not analyze, it does not judge. The eye, and the mind, the heart, behind that eye judges! It always needs to decide whether it likes what it sees, whether it wants to accept the truth that the lens is presenting! 

A lot like life, really! We need to decide how close we want to get to anything, we need to decide what we can accept and allow into our lives, and what to do with things that look entirely different when scrutinized closely! 

Sometimes, up close, things look prettier than they look as a whole.
Like a daisy! In a group, it looks just like any other, pretty, for sure, but not all that remarkable.
They are surrounded by dry stems and other wilted flowers. Just like a person melting into the madding crowd...

 But get close to them, see each and every characteristic and quirk, and that same flower, or person, is so much more than we would have ever imagined! Complex, beautiful and one of a kind!

On the other hand, some things, and people, look perfect when looked from the outside. Perfectly clean, smooth, happy with no worries...

But get close, and you will see how murky their lives are, the fine cracks and lines, how weathered they are! These lines may just be signs of wisdom, a life well lived, experiences collected, or something truly ugly.

You never know what you will discover when you get close. We always have to make that we want to discover what things really are? Are we strong enough to accept it if it is not all rosy and cosy? 

I am a very curious person by nature. I need to sniff and dig and "find out". But lately, I am realizing that I do not have the ability to digest things that are not ideal. I fight it, I try to "fix" it, and I suffer. I have also realizes that I cannot change that idealist in me, so am trying to keep my curiosity in check and not find out at all ;-) 

But I sure do want to see what everyone else has found out up close and Sally's blog:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thank you Vickie, and welcome new readers :-)

This blogging thing is really cool...

I met Janet of Honey From the Bee through the Focus On Life series hosted by Sally Russick of Studio Sublime.

From Janet's page I found out about an Arts and Craft fair in a museum 1 mile away from my home! I never knew!!! And Janet lives 33 miles away from me :-)

So I went to this fair on the 23rd of March...that was just a week ago. I was overjoyed to meet a lot of local artists. Folks who have been following me on FaceBook know how disheartened I have been that I can't find company near me.

Well, one of the ladies I met there told me about a silversmithing class, just a few miles from my office! Hallelujah!!!! I can't take it now, but I will start in September.

Another makes gorgeous copper components (Art In The Redwoods)

And my new friend, Vickie of Oh Abby Day!

Vickie lives about 15minutes away from me, and I bought a lot of gorgeous jewelry from her at the show.
Which says a lot about her talent, since I do not buy a lot of finished jewelry anymore.

Here's one of my favorites in her etsy shop:

And this is one of the things I bought

Vickie and I became friends within a week :-)

She has posted a guest post by me on her blog today, so wanted to let my regular readers know about her, and also welcome the folks she is sending my way.

She is a mom to two gorgeous little ones, a super talented jewelry artist, and an awesome photographer.

Do drop by and say hello to her when you have a minute: