Saturday, May 30, 2009


I have been quite preoccupied lately, constantly distracted by so many things. I am having a very hard time focusing on my art. I have so many projects waiting in the wings. Usually, I have no trouble in simply just beginning a new project. But for the first time in ages, I find myself grasping for inspiration. All the things that usually inspire me are not working this time. I find myself procrastinating. I suppose this means I need to find a new muse.

One of the things clamoring for my attention lately is the fact that I am needing to adjust my schedule to allow for more time in the kitchen. Recently we learned that various family members are having some health challenges that require dietary adjustments. Seeing as I am the designated cook, this means that I am now having some kitchen challenges that require time adjustments. Not to mention that I am now scouring the bookstores and Internet to find cookbooks and recipes to fit the new regime. Last night I spent no less than 2.5 hours cooking dinner, which was then consumed within 20 minutes. Clean-up afterwards took another 45 minutes (heavy sigh). Somehow, the whole experience was oddly unsatisfying. The positive note in all of this is that the food was yummy and well received. Well, it definitely will not be a bad thing to be more conscious of the quality of food eaten in the home. I just wish it could be more convenient to prepare!

Struggling to carve out creative time could be good for me. I have always been pretty fortunate to have time for artistic pursuits readily available to me. Perhaps this is where my inspiration can begin, in my struggles to find the time for art. Meanwhile, I sit and stare at my pending projects laid out on my worktable, willing them into some semblance of beauty. Wait for it...

(Photo shows two beading projects just on the cusp of birth. Maybe today...)

"If we did the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."- Thomas Edison

"Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."- Alexander Graham Bell

"Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value."- Jim Rohn

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Usually I associate the word "sweet" with something wonderfully delicious, like chocolate chip cookies or Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory or... but I digress. Much less damaging to your girlish figure are the sounds of sweet music. I love so many types of music I hardly know where to begin in selecting a favorite genre or musical artist. I believe that what I most favor in music depends on my mood at the time, or perhaps on the mood I wish to create. In years past, I studied music and played a musical instrument at school (the clarinet). While I never became the next Benny Goodman, I did learn to deeply understand music. I still long to play music in an ensemble because there is nothing like sitting with fellow musicians and making beautiful music. It is a singular experience. The closest I get to that feeling now is to crank up the tune of my choice and immerse myself in the mood of the music. I like to dissect a melody and learn to listen to each layer of it. Lately I've been particularly drawn to classical music, specifically, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. I love the structure and organization of his music, combined with a lilting beauty and some sorrow. It always touches me deeply and somehow perfectly expresses my own joys and sorrows.

I especially love to listen to music when I am creating art. Unfortunately, it is difficult to listen to music as I make glass beads at the torch. My torch, while dependable and hard-working, is annoyingly loud. The only way I can effectively listen to anything is via earplugs, which I hate to wear. (I foresee a new torch purchase in my near future.) Despite the noise factor of my equipment, I still find that listening to tunes while I work is amazingly inspiring. Listening to classical music helps me to produce refined pieces. Listening to rock inspires pieces with an edgier look, and so on. Music can influence you in ways you don't expect. I do believe it is important to be selective in the type of music I listen to. If I am in a particularly bad mood, angry music will not improve my mood but, rather, increase my irritation. So I try to keep that in mind and select tunes that will edify me and my feelings.

I also like to try new sounds on for size from time to time. It always amazes my younger friends when I am familiar with a current band. I like to keep people a little off-balance that way! Keeps things interesting and keeps me fresh.

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."- Leopold Stokowski

"Music's the medicine of the mind."- John A. Logan

(Bead featured in this post is available in my Etsy shop.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


My father was a collector. He enjoyed the details of items, the history of them. He collected many things: books, record albums, stamps, coins and postcards. I have most of his collections intact. I love to look through them and try to piece together what made my dad 'tick'. Today I was looking through his old postcard collection. Wow. Most of them are dated from the early part of the 20th century through World War II. They are fascinating to study. The artwork on the cards is simply lovely. Many of them were actually mailed from locations around the world to various members of my father's family. He was a magpie as a boy, who must have begged for these cards from his relatives. The postcard pictured in the photo is dated November 29, 1944. It was sent to my dad's older sister by a soldier that she knew. The French caption on the front translates as, "Our love knows no boundary!". What a sweet sentiment. I think the cartoon is utterly charming. I am equally charmed by the personal message on the flip side. It is not what I would consider romantic, but quite warm and friendly in nature. Maybe the man was shy or uncertain of his relationship with the lady recipient, my aunt. Or maybe he just had a fun sense of humor and thought she would enjoy the picture. Either way, it is a tiny window into someones life from a long time ago. I wonder about how the sender's life progressed. I'm glad I got a chance to peer into it. I'll share more postcards with you in the future. There are so many interesting ones to see!
"In youth we run into difficulties; in old age difficulties run into us."- Josh Billings
"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."- Robert Browning

Thursday, May 14, 2009


When I was a young lady, I really wasn't. I was quite undeniably a tomboy when it came to appearances. I was taught to conduct myself in a lady-like fashion and I truly believed in and applied good manners. I occasionally wore dresses when my mother required it. Otherwise, I happily tore around the neighborhood in play clothes. My mother tried, oh how she tried, to get me to wear pretty colors, like red, purple and pink. When I was deemed old enough to select my own wardrobe, I favored beige, black and, oddly, mustard yellow. Bleh. What was I thinking back then? My dad always said, "Youth is wasted on the young." So true. I had a plethora of lovely colors to choose from and I favored mostly safe, reliable neutrals, eschewing anything lovely. People used to ask me if I was in mourning due to my somber color choices. Good friends would ask me if I was depressed. Obviously, a change was in order. But it wasn't until I reached womanhood that I suddenly underwent a transformation. I embraced all things colorful. I began an intensive study of color theory and came to understand the subtle nuances of it all. I discovered that I have an 'eye' for color. Admittedly, I still adore black as a basic. But now I accent black with spots of lively color. I like feminine touches (though I will never be a lace and ruffle fan). It's fun to be a girl! But a little bit of tomboy never hurt anyone (well, maybe that annoying boy in first grade who was always trying to kiss me).
(Bead featured in detail photograph is called "Girl at Heart" and is available in my Etsy store.)

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/ With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me."- Jenny Joseph

Friday, May 8, 2009


I am amazed at what can be accomplished when a deadline looms before my eyes. Does this mean I work best under pressure? Perhaps. I know that a deadline gives me a sense of purpose; and a sense of purpose spurs my production level. My inspiration is stirred when I KNOW that I must complete a project within a given timeframe. The only thing that freezes my blood to ice is when I am being hounded to completion. In that case, inspiration flees my mind, to huddle in dark corners. I cannot lure it out unless I leave it alone for a time, make it crave to be wandering free once again. Knowing this about myself forces me to plan must-do projects accordingly. A little pressure is not undesirable, so long as it does not morph into a pushy monster that destroys my creative joy.

Today I completed the lovely trio of necklaces arrayed so fetchingly in the accompanying photo. I adore all three of them and hope the new owners of them will feel the same affection for them. These necklaces are intended as gifts for teachers at my child's school. The designs simply flowed from my imagination like water. They are basically simple and straightforward in their complexity; but I am quite satisfied with them. I especially love the faceted pearl design on the left. The lampwork focal bead is my own and sparked the color combo for this piece. I think it has a Bollywood flavor- love it! Today's deadline made me feel happy with my art, even motivating me to follow through on some non-art related work. How cool is that?

"A goal is a dream with a deadline."- Napoleon Hill
"All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord."- Earl Nightingale
"Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one's face."- James D. Finley
"The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work."- Berthold Auerbach

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Pageantry, pomp and circumstance, majesty, nobility- sounds a bit intimidating. Royal courts and those who inhabit them always fascinate us, though, don't they? I have always been especially interested in Elizabethan (Tudor, that is) history. The clothing and jewelry styles of the Tudor period are often quite detailed and elaborate. Seems to me that it would have been mind-bogglingly uncomfortable to go through an entire day all gussied-up like that. Not an elastic waistband in sight. Pity.
"Pretty is the queen that rules our land."- Carrie Latet

I have just put a couple of new and ornate jewelry items in my Artfire shop. Please browse at your leisure!

(Earrings -called "Rouge Queen"- featured in this post are in store now. "Divasphere" bracelet also available.)