12.28.2016


There's something wonderfully freeing in the ability to allow yourself imperfections. 

I'm not talking about churning out substandard work, or not striving for better.. but there's something incredibly liberating to understanding that perfection exists only in a perfect world and letting go of a standard that is unachievable.

Introducing you to some glass artists that DO live in that Perfect World.





and ohmygosh..JC Herrell


To my eye, these glass bead artists are very nearly 'perfect'! I've been making glass beads for over a decade now..I'm trying to accept my limitations. I deal with a small tremor and even with assists I will never come close to the control that would be needed in the flame for these amazing glass beads. I have to be okay with that. 

My imperfect beads made by imperfect me will never be quite as precise, or Perfect. My beads are not stars on their own..they need supporting stones. They need to be paired with other beauties from the earth..Turquoise, Agate, the colorful sheen of Spiney oyster and the metals..copper, sterling silver, warm Brass.. in order to really shine. That's when they are the happiest.

Artisan made necklace 'Desert Flower'

  
Artisan made bracelet 'Trajectories'


Human nature being what it is, I wonder if those amazing glass artists up there see a flaw in their work and are still working toward better?!

Not even the Greats escape that struggle to replicate perfectly the image in the mind, whatever that may be. 
I  think it was the master artist Michaelangle who, when asked the question, 'Which of your great works is your favorite?' replied, The next.'  





Enjoy your week people..make something imperfect! 


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12.19.2016

Some of you may know that because of my husbands job we've been living overseas for some time now.
In a 6 year span we've moved around through Maryland, Boston, California and Texas before traveling overseas for an extended period of time. For 3 years we lived in Israel, then in March of 2014 we moved to the little country of Qatar [on the Persian Gulf] where we still are.

Being overseas has afforded us the opportunities for travel. We've enjoyed seeing parts of Turkey, Germany, Ireland, Italy, France and Scotland! All of that travel is amazing amazing..for so many reasons.

Plaza in Turkey
I've tasted different foods and and tried to wrap my tongue around new languages...which oddly, isn't really appreciated, since everyone wants to practise their English with you!  As a woman, styles and clothing are noticed. Here in the Middle East, I've observed that under all those heavy black muslim veils and coverings are high quality, trendy jeans/dresses/shirts.

Enjoying Kabob with some really wonderful new friends..the Chef came out to make sure our meal was to our liking.

I've found that other countries are quite fond of Canada. We're viewed as a peace loving people. I like that. Travelling other countries has made me become a little more of a Patriot, and I now hold more dear the freedoms we have.

Surprisingly, I've also heard what our Canadian accent sounds like! After months of being immersed in a foreign tongue I was startled to recognize a fellow Canadian speak on a passing television show. I realized that other nationalities must hear our language sounding a little clipped, and that we tend to like the sound of the letter 'R'!

I've come to more fully understand that no matter what your culture is or which language is being spoken, at heart we're pretty much all the same.  For the most part, we have many of the same desires, goals and dreams..the same things make us laugh and the same things make us cry. We truly are one connected family.

On a side note, I've also learned to pack only travel essentials!  and not to go through security wearing the bra with wire in it..


Sharing just a few sweet visual memories from these travels. 

Sumptuous Mediterranean breakfast al fresco, Israel 2013 The food in Israel is better than any where else I've been. My opinion.
Farmland near Garmisch, Germany 2011
Milt in Bahrain, 2015
Milt with our tour guide..Ireland 2013
Shivta ruins in Israel..dates back to Byzantine times. Here with a friend [rocking the shades] who was in Israel as a volunteer Hospice worker. 2012

And finally for now, this lovely memory. This time last year we were in Strasbourg, France! What a beautiful beautiful night.  Yes, the Christmas market is as wonderful as they claim!  



We are one lucky couple of shmucks, I know. I'd always wanted to travel and see the world, but was destined to wait until I was in my 50's before I was able to do that.  

I think its probably much sweeter for the wait. Things usually are.


Have a great week all! At the risk of sounding very very saccharin, enjoy your precious days, where ever you may be. That may be the best gift we're all given.



12.14.2016

Six ways to re-charge your imagination



1.  Curl up with some quilting/fabric, interior design or fashion magazines and just absorb the color combinations and patterns. 
Rip out the images that inspire and make yourself a wall board to keep them on. Change it often. Pottery and dishes provide a wonderful springboard for glass beads and jewelry..as are museum catalogs/online articles..look up by gone periods and ogle some of the jewels or even the vessels and dishes of that time. Art Deco. Byzantine. Renaissance. 
one of my work spaces



The Dunstable Swan Jewel, a livery badge in gold and ronde bosse enamel, about 1400.



2.  Add music to your space. 
Music can inspire and move you..be bold and listen to something you wouldn't normally listen to. Music changes mood and energies which in turn changes the flow in your environment and can definitely alter the work that comes from within.





 3. Get outside! 

Breathe in the fresh air and try to see your surroundings through child eyes. Connect with the Earth. Notice texture, line and color. Is it possible to take a rod of glass ..a brush and paint or clay, whatever you may be working in..and mimic the pattern of wood? Notice how a shade of brown may seem to change in hue up against a shade of blue..then yellow. How is it that nature never messes up a color combination? Which brings us to...

Taken while in the Boston area 2011

4.   Glorious color!  Immerse yourself/space in COLOR..

Vincent van Gogh said, "there is no blue without yellow and orange."  Its a great quote.

Play with color. No matter what medium you're working in most of us tend to fall back to a familiar palette. Explore outside of those hues..even if just for a day. Almost any color combination is possible if you're brave enough. Try changing just the tone rather than the hue itself..where there is mild melon try a vibrant saturated orange and see what happens to the entire work. 



'Avatar' by Stricher Gerar


5.  Don't take yourself too seriously. 
Pretend there is no right or wrong way. Take time to daydream. Allow yourself permission to sit and think in silence. This is different than meditating where you're encouraged to bring awareness to the breath. Simply sit in silence and allow your mind to create at will. Annoyingly, this happens for many creative types naturally when trying to fall asleep. 
  

Pay attention. Keep notes and draw. 

Leather bound art journal by Keativelink on Etsy

6.  Keep a notebook just for ideas. A special notebook with multi media paper where only those drawings and scribbles, ink renderings, thoughts and ideas go. I tend to work off the cuff. I feel sure that I'd be more productive if I were to keep a notebook for ideas as well as inspired color combinations that come when you're sitting in the doctors office, at the traffic light or drifting off to sleep. 


Without the notebook, you're not prepared when those ideas of genius pop up. Napkins get lost..bits of torn paper wind up in the bottom of your purse or in white papery crumbs in the washing machine. 


So, there are a six very simple methods that I've used and that I've seen work for others in the past, maybe something here will be just what you need.





Thank you beautiful people..have yourself a great week. 

Past set of handmade glass beads 

Whichever method you choose to use to jumpstart your creativity I'd love it if you'd take a minute to share it with us! 
   
This post was re-written from a previous post written in 2008

12.12.2016

Alchemy




I like the sorcery that happens when a brand new rod of glass is brought to the flame and made to become syrupy molten. Part glass, part me..it folds back in on itself again and again.  More glass added here, a tiny nudge there.. until, finally it’s become a bit of art to be used in a larger design.








Part of a bracelet. Part of a necklace.
Worn by alchemous Renaissance women who can sense the magic.



'Trajectories' [double bracelet]Organic floral hand fabricated metal clasp has been worked in mixed metals..copper and sterling, as well as pure silver. 
Handcrafted glass beads in simplistic raised flower petal using translucent rods of glass from Germany. Paired with handmade Hillside Tribe stamped chain. $165US [take advantage of 15% discount for Facebook and Blogger customers until January~❀~ use HH2016 code in messages]

More details available here


12.08.2016









Pictured are two different lengths of some necklaces I've made recently. The one I'm wearing is what I call collar length and the bottom either 'princess' or 'matinee'...actually princess by industry standards, but on the stand appears to be more of a matinee length.

Personally, I like shortest on me best. Layering the 'rope/lariat' length with the collar and lacy chokers is a great look as well. I like keeping things simple. One smallish pendant on a piece of leather or chain. Although, I have seen some really heavy looking layers that look stunning. Its all about proportion, what you've paired it with and what clothes you're wearing.
Style is such a personal thing..really, if you like it and it makes you feel happy when you have it on, then you need to wear it without apology  😀 don't you agree?







Enjoy your week everyone..it's going to be a great one. 


11.01.2016

I can't believe its already November. The months whip by.. In Canada this is the time of year when its beginning to get seriously cold. Frigid cold. Frost on the windshield and red nose chilly.. and you'd better buckle in because it just gets worse, and will last for the next 6 months. No, I don't really miss that.

But there's something about November. The clean bite in the air and the new starkness of bared branches that lays the country before you in a new way. Everyone begins to sort of hunker in for the winter..theres a cosy intimacy in these colder months. Not to mention all those apples you don't really know what do with. [my mothers Apple pandowdy. yum] and, of course, the sweet anticipation of the approaching Christmas season..that, I do miss here in this Muslim country of Qatar.


Doha, Qatar city center

Bedoins and their camels are a common sight in the desert surrounding Doha, Qatar 


It's still hot here. This morning, it's 5 am and the temperature outside is 80°F with humidity at 77% so, to this Canadian girl, any thought of Christmas in a few short weeks seems almost irrational. 

This will be the first time in the 6 years my husband and I have been married that we haven't travelled and been away for Christmas day. Last year it was France and the year before Italy..and although it was just as romantic and lovely as that seems..we are both craving a 'normal to us' sort of Christmas this year. A real turkey. Our own tree. It may be a challenge to find our comfort Christmas here in the Middle East.. I'll let you know how that goes! 😎


  

Apple Pandowdy









  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 4 1/2 pounds tart, firm baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Northern Spy
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, (1 lemon)
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Directions on Martha Stewart's site



Enjoy your week everyone! 




10.19.2016

My sister Ann




...was born four years before me.
Growing up I remember her as a curly haired girl with freckles [she hated them] and skinny legs made to appear even thinner by a pair of black tights that she wore almost daily. She loved to play 'House' and could develop a story as beautifully as any well paid Hollywood director might. To her disappointment I never lasted very long in those drawn out dramatic tales. [I guess there was only so much direction I would take from someone wearing curtain sheers around her waist.]

The summer following high school graduation, my sister and I shared our First Apartment. The freedom was exhilarating. That very tiny one bedroom apartment was the most beautiful place we'd ever seen. Two sisters living the single life together is probably a recipe for disaster...but in spite of the volatile eruptions that shook our little apartment once in a while, we lived to tell the tales. [My lips are sealed]

We were married in the same year! and our first babies, both girls.. were born within days of each other!



All of our lives we've traded clothes, secrets, meaningful looks, recipes  ~and when we are feeling especially warm and full of good will~ compliments. We've also traded the evil eye and insults. We're sisters, after all.

Now here we are, with grown children and growing grand-children. How'd that happen. The men we grew up with alongside our children are no longer part of our lives. We live in two different countries,  and we sometimes forget to catch each other up on the daily happenings in our worlds.

Yet there is an unbreakable, unbeatable bond with sisters and their joined memories. Conjoined memories..

and no amount of time or space between us will change that.



My sister with her best ever fluffy buns ~Vancouver Island Farmers Market 2014



 first published 10.19.2010
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1.28.2016

Untitled #99



I had fun putting this collection together :-) This one is featuring 3 of my bracelets. Polyvore can be very relaxing as well as a great marketing tool. 

1.15.2016

'Just REd' ~flame-worked bracelet




Admittedly I've been lacking in creative mojo lately. I seem to have lost my step for a bit. I'm sure my muse is close by..she always is. Meanwhile..a simple strand of flame worked glass beads in luscious lick-able [you know you want to] RED. Like tiny syrup-y maraschino cherries. The sterling silver clasp is crafted in Israel..and is lovely lovely. I will be getting more of these. They're magnetic..simple fold over so you don't need to be a contortionist or look for someone to help you with it on. It's just very neat and easy, not to mention pretty.  Love it.

This style looks great layered..here with silver bangles or black leather..a watch maybe. It looks great alone as well, personally I prefer layered and hardly ever wear just one bracelet.

I kind of like these small unassuming strands..may be some more in the works. You can find this one here

Untitled #60


Paige Denim blue jeans
530 QAR - mytheresa.com


MICHAEL Michael Kors man bag
1495 QAR - net-a-porter.com


NOVICA amethyst pendant
195 QAR - novica.com


Dsquared2 rhinestone earrings
1030 QAR - dsquared2.com


Chan Luu fringed shawl
290 QAR - net-a-porter.com


Cole Haan Nene OT Shootie
395 QAR - 6pm.com