(Sorta) Manly Men Gift Shop

So the Etsy Shop has had attention paid, right here.

Now to work on the February page. The movie thing is looking kinda shaky, but the work begins nonetheless.


Replenishing Etsy Stock

I recently sold EVERYTHING in my Mens Gifts section over at Etsy, so my work on the BJP is currently on what I hope will be a very brief hold.

Mens Wrist Rope with chita jasper

Mens Wrist Rope with flower jade

Mens Wrist Rope with raku porcelain beads

I just finished these three mens' wrist ropes, and have yet to take decent photos of them or list them at Etsy. Which will probably happen this afternoon. In the meantime, I have two more to finish, using these great chita jasper rectangle beads. They remind me a lot of Picasso jasper, with their shadings and tonal qualities of neutral colors. Love the way they rest on the wrist.

One of the problems I always have with jewelry design is finding ways to balance a piece that has a hefty focal bead - they invariably slide to the inner wrist (damn you, Gravity!!), so in this case, I solved the issue by giving the ropes TWO focals, equidistant.

Better pics later. Which reminds me - I got a new toy. A power supply for my camera, so I don't have to rely on batteries any more. My poor little old Olympus has a tendency to chomp through them at an alarming rate. AND! I can take up to 50 minutes worth of movies with it now! Very exciting stuff. Yes, I AM a techno-dweeb.


What A Horse Race!!


By a nose!! Huge thanks to all her fans who took the time to vote for her!

Big ol' congrats to Wolf, Triz, Ivey, Vicki, Lily, Darcy & Kathy! - you can check the list here, see their entries and find their shops there. I had to drop out of the group a few days ago, so the honor of choosing the April theme rests on the shoulders of DanteSpirit, and I do not envy her THAT task. Nice going, everyone!!


January Page Accompli

January's Bead Journal Page takes the Earth as its theme.

This is my eighth page for the Bead Journal Project. I chose the Element of Earth for my theme this month because this is the time of year when I must be more grounded, as I mentioned in a previous post.

On the left is my "squared away" self, smack in the middle of my recreation of a citrine geode. Like Violet Baudelaire, I find it hard to concentrate unless my hair is tied up. As you can see, even when I try to contain some part of myself, it has a tendency to do as it will. Madly.

On the right, from the bottom to the top, are the four pillars of the earth, with the four winds blowing over them. All of it capped with a replica antique Chinese coin of base metal - I tried to make it seem as though it were the centerpiece of a Zen garden (Inspiration #9).

So the page is of stones and glass and metal - all having their origin in the earth.

Finishing a page is a most excellent feeling. Even better is the next page on the horizon:

The February BJP: Imbolc, the Time of Healing, the Time of the Quickening Moon. Lots of wonderful correspondences here to play with.

I had a brainstorm this afternoon - I'm going to film this one as I work it up and post it here. Nothing like a really difficult technical challenge to get your brain rockin' into gear!


January BJP Progress, Part the Third

Circles be easy. Straight lines be HARD.

For sure. Circles and spirals come more naturally to me. Working squares and straight lines are a technical challenge for me. Keeping focus on the main theme isn't difficult, but trying to rein in the natural tendency to spin off on tangents - whoa. So all the hard work is done. Now I can relax and play with creating my own square geode.

Inspiration #8 : This one's all about the beadwork. Tom and Kathy Wegman:

Too cool, eh?


January BJP Progress, Part the Second

Things are beginning to fill themselves in. If it weren't for the teeny holes in the ends of a few fingers, I'd swear this one was beading itself. I found these great 10/0 cubes at the International Bead Market in Omaha - never saw them anywhere else - and they perfectly reflect the overall theme.

Inspiration #7 for this year: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. An oldie but a goodie. The link goes to a website that has the entire text online. However, the reference on that website to the charity AIDS bike ride is over 4 years old.

And here's a little reminder - there are 7 days left to vote in the Etsy Beadwears' Challenge - Spring Break. If you have a moment, please check it out and vote for your favorite.


January BJP - Conceptions

My theme for this page is the element of Earth and all of its associations. "Down to earth." "Being grounded." "Salt of the earth." These phrases imply images of honesty, solidity, practicality, prudence, determination, self-reliance and stability.

After the time spent examining dreams (October), walking between worlds (November), and in reflection (December), the time has come to take all those experiences and return to the 'real' world with a renewed sense of grounding, squaring everything away and launching into a new year. It's no wonder so many people make resolutions in January.

Here's my first thoughts on the page. I wanted to include certain elements to convey a sense of celebrating the earth - but this initial composition didn't really gel things for me.

So I looked at it for a long time and realized the stone for my body was too erratic - it needed to be more formalized, more in tune with the concept of getting squared away. And I'd forgot to include an element of metal - then I found this wonderful Chinese coin replica.

We are of the earth as much as we are of the stars. While I have to place myself more solidly on the ground during this time - winding up the affairs of the past year, getting the tax papers together for the accountants - this doesn't mean I'm insensitive to the beauty of the earth itself. I love rocks and stones. To hold something in your hand as old as time, a tiny piece of all that came before and know it will last far into the future is an incredible feeling.

As I was sketching ideas and web-surfing rock shops, I found this picture of a square citrine geode:

I'll find a way to incorporate this somehow . . .

And not too far off the topic is Inspiration #6: Beauty and the Beast, the television show from the '90's. Now that it's out on DVD, I've gone back to enjoy my favorite part of it - the Tunnels. I love the clothes, the caves, and the culture of the underground community. There's an overriding, timeless and organic sense of style in the 'world below' that contrasts sharply with the artifice of the 'world above.'

The voting has begun for the Etsy Beadweaver's Challenge - check it out HERE, and please take a moment to vote - this time you don't have to leave your email or anything invasive. There are 36 entries this time and the choices are wildly diverse. Eye candy at the very least - so go. Enjoy. Vote. Thanks!


Winter Solstice

The shortest day, the longest night. A turning point. A Christmas memory.

In the old earth religions, the Winter Solstice represents a time for turning within, drawing on one's inner resources, a period of reflection. So here I am, meditating on the concept of the multiverse. The longest night affords us a good, long look at the stars. A chance to put our place in this world into perspective. I take this time to search the universe within me, as well. So many levels to contemplate - hence, the many layers in the agate representing my poor head.

At the same time, I am reminded of many a Christmas past. Snow on the hills, the lowering gray sky. An evergreen or two poking up out of the blinding whiteness. The little red seeds represent something else entirely.

I may have been all of ten years old at the time. I grew up in the Central San Joaquin Valley in California where snow never fell. Our next door neighbors had a huge pomegranate tree in their back yard. Being relatively unsupervised, I'd stolen many a fruit with impunity. We were out of school for Christmas vacation. I climbed over the five-foot tall wooden fence and up into the neighbors' tree as I had a dozen times before. I picked two nice, fat pomegranates and tied them into my shirt, leaving my hands free for the climb back down. Just as I was swinging back over the fence, my mom came out into the back yard to bring in the laundry. She saw me and shouted. I missed my footing and when I hit the ground the fruit went flying, bursting on the back wall of the house, splattering against the flapping white sheets. Little dots of purplish red all over those snowy sheets. My mother, who grew up in North Dakota, took one look at the mess and laughed. "Roses in the snow!" she said. I never found out exactly what she meant by that, but it left an image in my mind. Of course, I had to help with the laundry for the next month and I know I must have been punished for stealing, but all I clearly remember is her laugh.


December BJP Progress #2

Winter Solstice is nearing completion; the Long Night has fallen, now the snow is filling the landscape. Soon the sky will be replete with snow clouds, red berries and evergreens will peek through the snow dunes, and I can move on to my plan for the January page, Earth.


The Pony of Spring

Here is Maia, my entry in the Etsy Beadweavers Competition - Spring Break. I had originally intended to paint her eyes, but after many tries I gave up and gave her these big blue beads instead. Her mane and tale are an adaptation/abbreviation of a fringe bracelet design. I owe the color concept for this latest member of My Little Trail of Painted Ponies to this year's inspiration #5, Don Li-Leger, and this wall tapestry in particular.

I came across this as I was casting about for colors of spring. With the exception of using a grassier green, I kept fairly close to this (mostly) pale palette - it brings back childhood memories of California. My mother's chintz kitchen curtains, in particular. I can almost feel it, that almond blossom breeze as it lifted them so gently, a soft yellow light diffusing the room.