Saturday, April 24, 2010

You Gotta Give A Little

But sometimes you gotta do something for yourself.  Yesterday I met up at the local bead shop with two of my NaNoWriMo buds and we played beads.  I was a little apprehensive going in, as I was on quite a limited budget and there is nothing more frustrating to me than to find something absolutely fantastic and not have enough cash to buy it, especially when it comes to beads.

However, flow was with me and the piece came together as if it were already waiting out there for me to find it, and within budget.


birthday necklace 2010 two

The entire necklace, about 16” long.  The frog sits high up on my neck, hiding like frogs often do.

birthday necklace 2010 detail

Most of the beads come from the local bead shop, but the frog is something I bought several years ago from Green Girl Studios.  I had strung the basic necklace with the flowers, coral and yellow beads.  When I showed my daughter, she said “It looks like a pond and needs a frog.” 

I remembered that I have two amazing Bali silver frogs in my stash, and when I got home I set out to find them.  They eluded me, but this fellow showed up.  I looked for the other two beads, but this is the only one I could find yesterday, so I figured I’d try him out and see if I liked him.  I think he fit perfectly.

birthday necklace detail two

Here is a detail of the coral and the yellow glass beads from China.  I had planned on using some Thai silver from my stash as spacers between the large yellow beads, but I came across this tube of mixed beads I had bought several years ago at another shop, and the red discs fit perfectly into the look of the piece.  It’s a perfect example of what can happen when you let go and trust and go with the flow.

Happy beading!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reboot of Doom

Here we are, April 16, over 1/3 of the way through 2010 already.  I am revisiting my word of the year (“Metamorphosis”) and applying some of Havi’s Metaphor Mouse technique to an area where I want to see some change in my life this year.

An area I would like to grow in is that of physical activity/movement.  A close friend has taken up triathlons, and when we are able to talk in person, he tells me about his rigorous training schedule.  I am impressed by how he managed to fit in the training with everything else he has on his schedule, and I mentioned in passing that occasionally I have a desire to take my physical activity a step beyond what I already do.

He asked why I never have, opening a whole can of worms.  Weight and body image were always an issue growing up, and I always felt judged by my size and food choices.  Good was small body, small portions, the right foods.  Bad was anything else. 

But there was a mixed message in there.  Bad was also an over-developed interest in what my body looked like and what I ate.  I can still tell you the story of the one cousin who left his wife because he got into bodybuilding and became so “narcissistic” that he had no time for anyone else.  And I’m not even going into how my daughter went anorexic just as I began my weight loss journey.

Suffice it to say, there are issues.  But I still have dreams of having a body that is flexible and strong, and feeling light and un-self-conscious in it.

So where’s the problem?  I have worked out before, I even have had that body, if for a short time, in the recent past.  I have no desire to compete in a triathlon, or even a marathon (I much prefer yoga or weight-lifting to running).  But what I don’t have (what I perceive I don’t have) is discipline.

Even the word makes me cringe.  Discipline.  Dry, hard, boring, no way out, discipline.  Makes me stop dead in my tracks, better than almost anything else I know.

Enter Metaphor Mouse.  Havi asks, “What are the qualities, aspects and attributes of the thing” both those that aren’t working and those that are?


  • judgmental
  • imposed from the outside
  • have to (“should”)
  • serious
  • humorless
  • inflexible
  • punishment
  • routine
  • boring
  • duty
  • no options
  • joyless
  • dry
  • better than
  • rigid (same as inflexible?)

Looking at this list, about the only thing I find working for me is “routine”, in the good way of “do a little every day and see big results over time” (with a slight problem at “over time”).  What bothers me most is the lack of humor/joy, lack of flexibility and the judgmentalism inherent in the word.

What qualities I am looking for/are missing=

  • fun
  • flexibility
  • freedom
  • reward
  • choice
  • freedom
  • sovereignty
  • acceptance (opposite of judgmental, maybe encouragement?)

I am having a hard time coming up with a different word, but I found this link, also at Havi’s blog, and one of the words/phrases that pops up for “sovereignty” is “self-determination”.

It’s not quite a metaphor, but it works for the moment. It contains the qualities of flexibility and choice that are missing from “discipline”, and returns the power to me, which is what the “d” word kept me from seeing.

Here’s to Self-Determination!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday

Every Wednesday Jamie Ridler of Jamie Ridler Studios asks a question on her blog, in the form of “what do you wish for?”.  She invites people to answer the question at their blog, to be tenders of wishes at others’ blogs.

This week the question is “How do you wish to bloom?”


When I was growing up and I would complain about my circumstances, location, etc, I would often be told “Bloom where you are planted.”  Eyerolls and sighs would follow, especially during the teenage years, but with time and experience I see that the advice wasn’t as dumb as it seemed to me then.


This year’s word has been Metamorphosis, and I am working on blooming where I am planted.  I have been taking the circumstances and resources I currently have at my disposal, and have been working on transforming them into something to support my life.  I may not physically move from this area, but I wish to grow beyond my self-imposed limitations and become more than I have been.


I wish to bloom my art and career, to get my work out to more of the world and see where it will take me.  I wish to bloom myself, to nurture my body with regular movement, good foods and rest.  I wish to bloom my relationships with others, by working on my communication skills and listening more and speaking less.


Today was a really good day for this question, as it is sunny and warm outside, with many of the spring trees and flowers in full bloom.  My yard is filled with the violets I love so much, and the trees are starting to fill out with wild green leaves.  It is also my birthday, a good time to reflect on what has passed and to look forward to what is to come.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Books in Bloom

Here in Southeast Ohio spring has definitely sprung.  I can see the neighbor’s magnolia filled with the creamy pink blossoms of the season, and the violets are beginning to fill my front lawn.  It’s a riot of color and texture, yet as recently as two weeks ago, branches were still bare and the grass was barely green.

An art career is somewhat like this, growth can be going on just beneath the surface and from an outsider’s perspective it can seem as though nothing is ever going to change. 

While I have been working on entering shows, creating work for sale, and updating my Etsy shop, the seeds I planted over a year ago have started to bloom.  Two books have recently been released which feature my work.

The first, “500 Art Quilts”, is the kind of survey of the contemporary art quilt scene which I looked at with longing when I first started making art quilts and entering my first shows.  It is one of the wonderful Lark “500” series which showcases the best in contemporary craft, and two of my works have been chosen to be included. 


“Marilyn”, 2008, shown above, and “Bird’s Eye View”, 2007  were the two pieces chosen for this wonderful book.

500 Art Quilt cover

The second book is an instructional book, and I designed a project for it, in a patchwork and applique style. “Pretty Mini Little Quilts”  contains designs from 25 artists, with the main theme being that the quilts are under 36” in any direction.  You will be amazed at how much creativity and visual impact you can fit into a small space.

12 sewing elephant to quilt

Here is a photo illustrating how to sew the elephant to the pieced background.

41 elephant after embellishing

A detail of one of the elephants from the quilt.

Pretty Little Mini Quilts cover

I am proud and pleased to be included in each of these wonderful books.  The editors have done a great job, and I highly encourage you to check them out.