Saturday, March 29, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 13

Week 13: Eye Level
From where you stand, sit, kneel, or lay;
take a look around at your surroundings
and capture what's at eye level.

Since I spend a lot of time at work each week, I thought I would capture the view from my office chair. As well as the traditional tools and accessories, you will notice that I've added a few personal touches.

And yes, that is actually a small aquarium on my desk. You should see how excited the fish get when I'm about to feed them. The purple teddy bear, perched up high, watches over everything.

So, this is my view from Eye Level at work. To see the eye level view of the other participants, check out the links below...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tablet Weaving Experiment

An experiment is a scientific procedure undertaken to make a discovery, test a hypothesis, or demonstrate a known fact. My most recent weaving project was such an experiment.

I wanted to try out a new design (not original, but new to me) and also to work with three different colours (instead of only two, as I have been using).

The project was a disappointment on several levels. See the photos below of the two sides...

Right side
Wrong side
Let's look at the right side first. I was aiming for a defined alternating diamond pattern, not an alternating wave pattern. The third colour (pink) is showing through on the green too much. I've also decided that I like the narrower edging, using only one card on either side, instead of two. The edges are not clean and tight this way. Perhaps I'm positioning the cards incorrectly?

Now to turn to the wrong side. While it does have the more defined alternating diamond shapes I was looking for, it's the wrong side, and you can clearly see that it is the wrong side. It doesn't matter that the pink is peeking through on this side because it's the wrong side, right? You would not see this side after sewing your trim onto your garment.

My final conclusion...I still have a lot to learn. I've cut my losses and moved onto the next project. Although, as a friend pointed out, it's not really a loss if you learned something. And I did. *smile*

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

De-Clutter Project 2014 - Week 13

Buoyed by my small victory with the clothes closet purge last week, I decided to have another go at it on the weekend. I actually managed to part with a few more items. I was quite pleased with myself.

Another bag of treasures went to the thrift store. I'm sure someone out there will appreciate the sacrifice I made and enjoy wearing the clothes that no longer fit in my wardrobe or my lifestyle (or my body size).

My mother with her grandparents,
in 1940
I have to admit that I really did not get a lot accomplished this week. I kept getting distracted by other things. And now I'm just making excuses and I promised myself that I would not do that.

A second cousin twice removed contacted me on Friday and asked me to scan some old family photographs he knew I had. He's writing up a family history and wants to include as many images as he can get. That did give me a chance to sort through and organize the box of photos a bit. Does that count as work on the de-cluttering project?

My great-grandmother with me (baby on left)
and two cousins in 1956
 I'll do better next week, I promise.

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 12

Week 12: Expression
Whether it is someone by themselves or
interacting with others, the way a person expresses
themselves is always so interesting.
This week we are checking out expression. 

As soon as I read this week's prompt, I knew exactly the photo that I wanted to use. At a recent family gathering, I was taking pictures of everyone in attendance.

I was trying desperately to get my granddaughter to smile for me. No luck. Finally, I said 'Justin Beiber' and this is the expression I got. I guess she doesn't like the Canadian superstar. *smile*

I was actually trying to follow Sally's instructions to 'Andy Warhol' the original photo but I simply could not get it to come out the way I wanted. So, I played around in PhotoShop and altered the photo as you see it above. You can see the disdain in her face, can't you?

And what does the expression on my cat's face say? I can 'hear' several comments coming from her.

"What are you looking at?"

"Do you have to watch me while I eat?"

"Can't you find anything better to feed me?"

"While you're here, you might as well fill up the bowl again!"

To see the expressions from the other participants, check out the links below...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

De-Clutter Project 2014 - Week 12

I'm looking in my clothes closet this week and I can see a lot of things that I haven't worn for quite some time. Admittedly, some of them are seasonal, and for warmer weather than we have right now, but there are definitely some items that I should pass along to someone else or discard completely.

I mean, I have not worn them in so long that I cannot remember the last time I had them on. As I look at each piece, pondering it's wearability and whether it still fits into my current lifestyle and needs, I wonder why it's so hard to get rid of things.

I've never been one to keep up to date on the latest fashion trends. I don't feel the need to upgrade my wardrobe at the turn of every season. The clothes I wear today are simple and classic, things that are timeless.

Taking several deep breaths, I pull the first item out of the closet. What is the emotional attachment to this dress? Did I wear it at all last year? The year before? I don't think so. Why am I hanging onto it? I don't know. The first thing goes into the donate box. This painful process continues with each piece.

The job took longer than it should have but I did manage to fill up a small box to take to Goodwill. I'm sure that I put things back into the closet that I should have parted with but maybe next time I will be able to say good-bye to them, just not today.

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 11

Week 11: Beauty All Around
This week let's check out the beauty in the world,
the beauty that we sometimes miss
because we are busy with the daily activities
we "need" to accomplish.

I realize that I shared this photo earlier this year (Week 5) but with the huge snow storm here this week, added to the fact that I had a spectacular fall in the parking lot at work, I was not able to get out and about to take a new photo. And I really like this one.

Even in the aftermath of devastation following the big ice storm earlier this winter, there was beauty. The ice on the trees glistened in the sunlight the next day and had an inherent beauty to it, as all of nature does. I was not quite so impressed after three days without heat or hydro but I got over it quickly when I woke up at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning to the sound of my furnace coming on. Now, THAT was beautiful! *smile*

It occurs to me that a child's artwork is always beautiful too, if only to their parents and grandparents. This lovely painting was done by my granddaughter about 10 years ago. I think it's fabulous and it still hangs on the wall in my office.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It cannot be judged objectively, for what one person finds beautiful may not appeal to another. It's more a function of the viewer than the viewed. But one thing is certain, beauty is all around us. You just have to open your eyes to see it.

To see the beauty all around the other participants, check out the links below...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

De-Clutter Project 2014 - Week 11

I finally managed to get my son involved in the de-clutter project this past weekend. He was constantly complaining about not being able to find anything to wear in spite of the fact that his closet and drawers were overflowing.

Convincing him to go through everything and get rid of those things he would never wear was easier than anticipated. He managed to fill two large green garbage bags of clothes to send to Goodwill, and half a bag of stuff that is headed for the garbage truck because it is no longer fit for anyone to wear.

In the process, he found items he'd forgotten he had and he can now find what he's looking for in his drawers and closet. He's happy and I'm happy to get another load of unwanted stuff out of my house. And the job got done so fast, I did not get the opportunity to take photos.

My aim was to tackle my closet this evening before posting, but we had a huge snow storm here today. I fell in the parking lot at work as I was leaving and I'm a bit worse for the experience. I'm not doing much tonight. I'm going to follow the cat's lead. *smile*

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Bead Soup Arrived!

How exciting to come home to a package in my mailbox! I was especially looking forward to this one. It was my Bead Soup from my partner, Janet.

I see that she is determined to challenge me. She made a point to select colours that I don't normally use, including some beads that are Radiant Orchid, Pantone's colour of the year.

She made the copper pendant, as well as, the enameled beads and clasp. I really want to learn how to do that some day. I just love the look of the enameled elements.

Included in my package was three colours of sari silk made by a women's co-operative in Inda and some lime green nylon cord for stringing.

I will have to put on my creative thinking cap and come up with a design worthy of this wonderful Bead Soup. I wish that I could have taken a decent photo tonight. After several attempts, the above shot is the best of the bunch.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 10

Week 10: The Big Picture
We are expanding what we are checking out and
looking at the BIG picture! The wide angle shot!! 

The Mill Pond was named in recognition of the sawmill operation that once used this pond for power. The sawmill was part of what made the heart of town an attractive place to settle in the late 1800s.

Today, it is a local park, the stage to the summer Concerts In The Park, and also hosts the annual Winter Carnival and Mill Pond Splash Events. There is a playground for the children and walking trails through the woods. It is home to a variety of wildlife species, including ducks, swans, raccoon, geese, and beavers.

This photo was taken VERY early this morning. It looks very peaceful and serene right now. Later today, you will see families skating, children playing hockey and seniors out for their daily stroll.

The park is surrounded by heritage homes and is a popular location for wedding photos. You can always find someone fishing in the summer, but don't let your children play in the water! The snapping turtles who reside there have belligerent dispositions and their powerful beak-like jaws can snap off fingers and toes with ease.

Many years ago, my father worked for the parks & recreation department. He came upon a couple of ducks that had been victims of those turtles. The male had only one leg and could not defend himself very well. The stronger, two-legged males harassed him constantly. The female had only half a beak and had difficulty picking up food to eat.

The two of them were often seen together. She chased off the aggressive males and he picked up the food and fed it to her. One day, my father decided to re-locate the two disabled ducks to a small lake in the north end of town where there were no other ducks to bother them and they could live in peace. Now, there is a vibrant community of ducks living there that began with those two.

To see the BIG PICTURE photos of the other participants, check out the links below...

Friday, March 7, 2014

8th Bead Soup Blog Hop

This annual event is a lot of fun! This will be my fourth time participating. Here's how it works...

- The organizer (Lori Anderson) pairs you with another jewelry designer.

- You send each other a quality package of beads, along with a special focal bead and a nice clasp.

- You make one or more pieces of jewelry with those beads, incorporating beads from your own stash as needed. The focal and clasp you were sent MUST be used, but not necessarily in the same piece.

- You post your creation on your blog on the reveal day (May 3rd), and you try to visit as many of the other designers' blogs to see what they have created.

Participation has grown over the years and more than 500 people signed up this time from all over the world. My partner, Janet, is Canadian (like me) and lives in the Ottawa area. Our packages have been mailed out and I can't wait to see what she has selected for me.

Here's a sneak peek at what I'm sending her...I knew that kaleidoscope thing I learned how to do would come in handy. *smile*

Check out Lori Anderson's book, to learn more about the party and to get ideas on how you create with your 'bead soup'.

You can also go to her blog to keep informed with all the latest updates and to check out previous Bead Soup Blog Parties.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

De-Clutter Project 2014 - Week 10

Having lots of drawers and corners for storage can be as dangerous as a double edged sword. Yes, you have lots of room to store things BUT you probably (like me) end up storing things that you shouldn't.

Take, for example, the kitchen stuff (dishes, cutlery, etc.) that I've been hanging onto for my son...for the day that he will move out of my house and into his own place. At this point, however, I'm pretty sure that is NEVER going to happen so why hang onto them any longer? Even if he does finally fly the coupe, the thrift stores can outfit him with all he needs relatively inexpensively at that time.

And what about the drawer full of clothing that no longer fits my granddaughter? You know, the items I was keeping for when she came to stay over. As it turns out though, she usually comes with all the stuff she needs for her visit and I don't think we ever used anything in that drawer.

I've managed to fill a couple of boxes to take to the thrift store. They are now sitting by the front door to go out to the car in the morning. If I can get rid of another few hundred boxes of stuff, I might finally have control over it all. Alright, that 'may' be a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point. Let me tell you, it does seem like that much needs to go some days.

Oh, and I found a free online photo editor this week that can turn any picture into a kaleidoscope. How cool is that? You never know when that will come in handy. Have I mentioned that I get distracted easily? *smile*

What area do you intend to tackle this week? What do you think you will find? More importantly, what will you do with it?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 9

Week 9: Macro Photo
Sometimes, when we are checked out of life and checked in
to technology, we tend not to focus on the amazing things
that are happening around us every minute of every day.
This week we are going to get up close
and really check things out!

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~~Albert Schweitzer~~

A single candle burning in recognition of all the wonderful people who inspire and encourage me each day. Thank you for your love and support.

To see the up close, macro photos of the other participants you can check out the links below...