Saturday, September 28, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 39

'Get snap happy!
Give us your best shot.'

There was not time (or energy) to get out and take any new photos this week. I was getting ready for yet another event this weekend. Thankfully, I will get a bit of a break after that.

I took this photo a couple of years ago and it has always been a favourite of mine. It was taken when I was still able to go for short walks. For me, it is representative of life's journey; the present right in front of us and the future far ahead and unseen.

If you are looking for an amusing shot, this one is close to the top of the list. They were doing construction on my street last year. When I came home one evening, there was a port-a-potty for the crew installed on the end of my driveway! Luckily, my car is small enough that I could still get in. My friends thought it was quite funny, although I'm not sure how impressed they were with the idea of using it.. *smile*

Check out the 'best shots' of the other participants below...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Favourite - Owl Pendants

Owls are a very popular jewelry motif. You only have to go to Etsy and search for ‘handmade owl pendants’ to be convinced of that. There are 250 pages of them!

Being the age that I am, I have an affinity with the wise old owl. I’ve been around long enough to have learned a thing or two and I’m more than happy to share the knowledge I’ve acquired along the way. *smile*

I made this owl necklace for myself recently to exemplify that journey. The owl pendant signifies wisdom. The bone beads bring to mind the wisdom of the ancestors as passed onto us. The red seed beads represent the blood spilled along the way and/or the difficult lessons learned. The black cord shows that the road was not always straight or easy to navigate.

I wish that I’d picked up more of those antiqued brass owl pendants when I had the chance because they no longer have them at the bead shop where I purchased this one. A couple of people of have expressed an interest in having a similar necklace for themselves.

This brings me back to Etsy and all those handmade owl pendants for sale. I obviously did not have time to look at every single page but I have picked out a few favourites from what I saw.

This handmade art pendant featuring an owl in a brass bezel is made by Jennifer O'Toole. 

If you are into Steampunk, you have to see this cogs and gears owl pendant made by Ebro H. I love this one.

For something a bit more whimsical, check out this orange owl pendant made by Lisa of 'Pieces of Me Pendants' from a wooden Scrabble© tile.

This is only a few of the owl pendants available. There are so many other artists creating amazing and imaginative designs. If you will excuse me now, I'm going back to check out a few more on Etsy.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 38

A moment of calm, peacefulness and self-reflection.
Quiet little moments through the day where you
pause, listen to your heart and breath.

This week capture a quiet moment.

In my quiet moments, I like to write. Sitting down with paper and pen, capturing my thoughts and ideas, is very relaxing and cleansing.

When I was in high school, I aspired to be an author/journalist. But love and life and the need to earn an income pushed that dream to the background.

I ended up married at 18, pregnant and living 950 miles away from home. Two children and three years later found me back living with my parents as a single mother.

I had no time to write or even think about writing. With two young children to care for and feed, I had other priorities. I would never have survived without the support, both moral and financial, of my parents. For that, I'm very grateful.

The years passed, people came and went from my life and my body began to fail me, but the desire to write still resided in the back of my mind.

Then, I discovered the web blog world in 2009. It opened up a new avenue for me to explore and utilize. And now, it provides me with the outlet to express myself creatively in words. It augments both my small business and my personal contentment at the same time.

One day I hope to write a novel or two. I have a ton of material and ideas in my head that life experiences have provided me. Never mind the drama on TV soap operas, I've got them beat!

To see the quiet moments of the other participants, check out the links below...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 37

Get moving and a grooving this week!
Stretch those creative muscles
and capture things in motion.

Right now, me and my car are in motion heading out of town for a vending event this weekend. This is a busy month for us. We have several shows coming up in quick succession.

NOTE: Technically, I was not ' in motion' when I took this photo.

I love this little car. It is what makes it possible for me to do pretty much everything. I couldn't go far from home without it. I take good care of it. I make sure it gets regular oil changes and maintenance.

Oh, there is something else in motion this! I started physiotherapy this week, so I have a series of exercises to do twice a day to help strengthen my lower back and hopefully reduce the amount of pain I'm in. Here's one of the exercises my therapist gave me to do. There was no way to take a photo of myself doing it.

I must admit that I am noticing a bit of a difference already which encourages me to continue with the regimen. Eventually, we will start on building up the muscles around the bad knee so that when the knee replacement is done, recovery chances are much higher.

To see the other participants 'In Motion', check out the links below...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 36

This week, we are focusing on things that come in two. 

I have to admit that I'm really drawing a blank on this one. Enlightened inspiration is escaping me. All that comes to mind are things like shoes, socks, earrings, boots, gloves, mittens, legs, arms, ears, eyes, slippers, and hands.

Well, wait a that the brain is starting to work a bit, I can think of a few other things too...skis, skates, chopsticks, headlights, cuff links, contacts, lungs, knitting needles and windshield wipers too. I needed those windshield wipers this morning, it's raining outside.

I had to make an early morning trip to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy cat food. The poor little darlings were going to STARVE to death any minute! At least that is the impression that I was getting from their pitiful cries. Never mind that there were two bowls full of dry kibble in front of them, WE WANT WET FOOD. *smile*

It then occurred to me that, first thing every morning, these two cats show up at 6 a.m. to chant the 'hunger song'. They are always together and singing in unison. So, here is my 'two'...

To check out what comes in two for the other participants, see the links below...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Look What I Found Online This Week

In anticipation of Rice Krispies Treats Day, September 18th, check out 20 classic and gourmet recipes.

Did you know that indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air.  Here are 10 Houseplants That Filter Toxic Pollutants From the Air.

Epsom salt is a good source of magnesium and has dozens of household uses. You can discover some of them here.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Design Development

I recently purchased a necklace at the thrift store that inspired me to create a similar collection to post on Etsy and to sell at events. What appealed to me about the piece was the element of asymmetry encompassed in the symmetrical design.

I like pattern, regularity and predictability (symmetry) and have struggled in the past with creating asymmetrically. However, the randomness of asymmetry really makes a striking statement, I think. This sleek, simple design has the best of both worlds.

My first step was to go to my local bead shop to pick out a selection of natural stone beads the basic shapes and sizes I was looking for. I chose a variety of jasper, sardonyx, quartz, agate and jade.

Top row: Oval curved green line quartz, oval curved olive jade, oval carnelian sardonyx
Middle row: Oval red sardonyx, oval rice black agate, oval curved red sardonyx
Bottom row: Oval black sardonyx, oval sesame jasper, oval green line quartz
Next, I ordered the 3/8" bronze rings and wire that I needed. I decided to make my own chain elements rather than using the pre-made commercial kind. I opted for a modified mobius pattern because it's prettier than a double link chain, which was the other option I was considering.

I toyed with the idea of enhancing the bronze rings with a nice patina but my two experiments garnered me green and brassy yellow. Neither of those were acceptable for this project. Any other experiments would have required specific chemicals and time that I did not want to spend. I'll let them patina naturally. *smile*

I placed an online order for the other components (the clasps and decorative rings) I required and they showed up surprisingly quickly three days later. With everything in place, I began working on the prototype this past weekend.

The process was not without challenges. I had to heat the bronze wire I was using to string the beads on. The half-hard wire was too difficult for me to work with. Heating it, then letting it cool down, softened it to a more malleable state.

I had to play around with the lengths of chain too until the finished product met my requirements, hanging the way I wanted it to.

So, without further adieu, here is the completed prototype...

Each necklace I create in this series will be different, using various combinations of the beads I purchased. I'm tentatively calling the collection, 'Autumn Frolic'. What do you think of the name? Leave a comment with your thoughts or alternate suggestions.