Friday, July 31, 2009

Beaded Links...


A Bead A Day
Swarovski Crystal Volcano! Are you ready to see sparks of red, yellow and orange?

Tammy's going bananas over bamboo beads!

Learn how to make your own bezel with Art Bead Scene!

Fishing is a fun summertime activity, but even more fun when it results in something to wear!

Carmi places some vintage lace/tatting between glass for this lovely pendant idea.

Want to add charm to your jewelry? Cindy Gimbrone shows you how to make glass nugget charms.

Jean gives the inside scoop on Rachel Nelson-Smith's upcoming book, Seed Bead Fusion.

Lorelei is helping to promote Cynthia Thornton's new book release by offering the 1st of 8 giveaways!

Melissa discusses her experiences with metal clay safety issues.

With Swarovski crystals from Artbeads.com, Andrew creates a wire-wrapped dangle bracelet inspired by a fuzzy caterpillar.

Dinner Challenge...

Sometimes you just want to clear out the fridge. The Thorntons have been known for creating "Treasure-overs" or in other words, up-cycled leftovers. It's a fun challenge that stretches a penny further. For dinner I made a "leftover stew" that was savory and a little bit sweet. I couldn't possibly detail a recipe, because it takes all the pieces and parts leftover and somehow making them all work together. The stew was served over rice with a side salad of baby butter greens, pears, apples, strawberries, and goat cheese. Did you notice we like flavor profiles that blend savory and sweet? (Oh! We also had black olives per Azalea's request.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sweets...

Asheville is blessed with many fine attributes. One of the finest is that it is a hub for talented pastry artisans and there are several shops here in town that offer up a delicious selection of baked goods and confectionary delights. Our usual hang out is Filo in Oteen, but when we're north of downtown, Creme Patisserie & Confectionery is a new favorite. They've been in business for about three years. For the first two years, they ran the business from their home and for about the last eight months maintained a cute retail shop on Merrimon. Above is a photo of some of the treats we picked up last night – creamy creme brulee, a mini berry cake, rose water meringues, chocolate-filled brioche, wild honey, and savory herb butter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twitter...

I never thought that I'd join Twitter, but I have. On the right sidebar I've added a Twitter widget that updates my Tweets. (Sounds like another language, I know!) You can also follow me on Twitter by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Impermanence of Things...

It rained again today. It was a big heavy rain, where the sounds of the falling heavy drops and the howl of the wind and the crashing of thunder were almost deafening. With the rain came a strange stillness in the cacophony. I propped the window open and sat for a long time thinking about ancient cave paintings and time. I sat listening to the drumming of a primal beat, the one in my heart and the one outside the windowsill.

When I began my journey as an artist, I guess, like many, I was on a search for identity. Unknowingly to me, I was on a search to find myself. Eventually I began to see the patterns in my work and how there were markers of the struggles I had with the world, my demons, and basically the foundations of who I am. Even if I wasn't painting a picture of myself, you could see me in the work – in the brushstrokes, in the colors, in the images I chose.

Since I am very much entrenched in the world around me, the chronicling of my existence was a mapping of the world. When I started confronting the vastness of that world, I wanted to preserve myself. I wanted to leave a record. I did not want to be the voice of the old Sybil, dying in the wind a whisper. I wanted to maintain and to be remembered and in my own way, be immortal.

It's only now that I can really understand my motivations when I began. It's hard to have perspective when you're right up against it. A rock in the road is a seemingly insurmountable mountain when it is an inch from your eye.

I watched the rain today and I became okay with the impermanence of things. One day, I will be forgotten. All memory of the person I am will be washed away by the erosion of time. The records of Me, the maps of internal landscapes and hidden dreams, should they survive like some ancient cave painting, will only capture a hint of my life. What immortality I may seek to obtain is a hollow one, a husk for a very real – a very human life. And oddly... I'm okay with that.

One could look at this and see years of toil and frustration all for naught, for an impossible thing, OR one could see this an incredible thing. I am a moment that cannot be captured. All of me is just too big to fit in a painting or a sculpture or in a few words. I am like a sunrise, a firefly, a misty steam rising from the road as the rain crashes down. I am ephemeral.

Is this an excuse to lay down my paintbrushes and pens and whither away? Not at all. It is a calling to LIVE! It is a message to make each day count and do what best makes me shine!

Art Bead Scene Challenge: The Lascaux Cave Paintings...

Just barely sliding in there at the end, I just finished up my piece for the July Art Bead Scene Challenge prompt: The Lascaux Cave Paintings.

I wanted to create a piece fitting for a modern-day shaman strung up with talismans to ward away evil, bless the hunt, and add a little bit of magic to everyday life. It was important for me that the necklace have an organic and rustic feel.

I used braided leather cording, wire-wrapped wire mesh (with faceted pearls), chain, and orange Cat's Eye from Bead Trust for the base of the necklace. The focal piece is a fire-polished copper coin from my family at Green Girl Studios. I think it has an ancient vibe that works well with the piece. I also used a shibuichi toggle also from my family. The rich color compliments the earthy color scheme. The Green Girl Studios pieces aren't the only art beads; there's a ceramic tube from Keith O'Connor, ceramic rounds from Gaea Pendants, a drilled stone from Riverstone Bead Company, a lampwork pendant from Z Designs in Glass, a laser-engraved wooden bead from Lillypilly Designs, and a bronze clay component that I made myself. To accent these art beads, I used a bone skull from Anima Designs, golden coral and a stick pearl (and faceted pearls) from Talisman Associates Inc., a new Swarovski crystal Rock Pendant in Crystal Copper from Artbeads.com, Czech glass from Raven's Journey, and an ammonite from Gary Wilson. For another view of the necklace, CLICK HERE.

Above is a close-up of the copper coin. I fire-polished it to bring out the natural patinas and dull the bling factor. I had a lot of fun with this challenge and was happy that I could play along this month!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend Foodie Roundup...

We've had a busy weekend here. To keep our strength up, we've been cooking like mad.

My dad was in town for a visit and this is one of the meals I made up that I thought he'd enjoy. I stacked slices of a medium rare steak with crispy bacon, caramelized onions, buttery sauteed wild mushrooms, and smoked gouda. All of this was piled generously on a toasted keiser roll.

While we were at my parents' house here in Asheville cleaning it up and readying it for renters, we discovered three small bright orange pumpkins in the now defunct garden. We had a couple of options. We could decorate them, we could have a blast with them, OR I could make pumpkin pies, (which I ended up doing). I made two large pies and a slew of mini-pies. The filling turned out light, custardy and delicate. I was pleasantly surprised for my first attempt at a pumpkin pie from scratch.

We got a huge craving for those scalloped potatoes from the other night and made up another batch. I kept them in the oven a little bit extra for an extremely flavorful, golden brown crunch. We served them up with some citrus rosemary hammered chicken tenders. I double-dredged them – once in a flour, rosemary, curry, sweet paprika mixture and then in French's French fried onions. We experimented with baking them with excellent results.

Crystal Caterpillar Bracelet...

It being summer and the fact that I'm down South with the family in the misty mountains of Asheville, NC has meant spending more time outdoors. I've taken almost every opportunity that's come my way to spend time outside and in nature before I return back to New York. On a recent search for fairies with my niece, Azalea, we came across a fuzzy white caterpillar. What a magical find! We were careful not to touch it, as we weren't sure if it was of the stinging variety, but marveled at this fuzzy little creature inching along.

Using some of my favorite components, I decided to translate this woodland wonder into a piece of jewelry. I used a NEW butterfly toggle in fine pewter from my family at Green Girl Studios and lots and lots and lots of juicy-looking Swarovski crystals from Artbeads.com.

Above are a few snapshots I stole from a Google image search for reference.

For my color palette, I opted for white opal, violet opal, rose water opal, the NEW air blue opal and crystal moonlight. I think the opalescent crystals capture a certain quality of light that translates well as tiny movement. The crystal moonlight reflects that and enhances the feeling of the bracelet. There are over 400 wire-wrapped 4mm Swarovski bicones. The pale, subdue colors are also perfect for summer.

I handmade the hundreds of fine silver headpins, but Artbeads.com carries a great selection of headpins on top of their glittering array of Swarovski crystal pendants, Swarovski crystal beads and Swarovski crystal rhinestones. Make sure to take advantage of their fast, free shipping and stock up on Swarovski crystals and create your very own Crystal Caterpillar Bracelet!

An Artists' Talk Worth Hearing...

This Wednesday, Iviva Olenick will be revealing some of the stories behind her fiber art embroidery series, Were I So Besotted. Please join her at the Center for Book Arts for Threads: Interweaving Textu[r]al Meaning on Wednesday, July 29th at 6:30PM. Other artists speaking include, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, Meda & Veda Rives, Donna Ruff, Tamar Stone, and Elise Wiener.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vote Early and Often...

I have a soft spot for good t-shirt design, especially ones that make you think. Leslie Rogalski (of Step-by-Step Beads magazine fame) clued me into this great design by her husband, Mike. Check it out and vote for it on Threadless.com. CLICK HERE to vote now. (You'll have to register first, but it's only a handful of moments to support good t-shirt design!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Beaded Links...


A Bead A Day
The new Swarovski Air Blue crystals are perfect for summertime jewelry making. Lisa has used them to represent a "happy day" in this ring and necklace set.

Rock clubs rock, literally, when you are looking for inexpensive, local jewelry making classes.

Tired of your liver of sulfur going bad? Check out this – Patina Gel!

The second part of Cyndi's tutorial on using CopprClay to create a necklace.

Carmi introduces a vintage walnut to rhinestones.

Cindy takes on heavy metal in the studio. No, you won't need to cover your ears – just your hands!

Melanie takes some time to show off a few new resin and brass collage pendants!

Jean visited Chicago and discovered a new beading technique using pleather and Conso.

Take a sneak peek at Katie's newest beading book!

Lorelei makes a fun Owl swap with a blog friend.

Jean is wowed by Denise Peck's recent earring book, 101 Step-by-Step Wire Earrings! Get it and make some for YOURSELF!

Melissa curls up with a few good books from Rings & Things.

After cleaning the studio, Andrew finds (and finishes) a long-lost PMC Floral Link Bracelet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's For Dinner...

The day couldn't have gone more differently than I would have imagined. We got a lot of work done, especially on cleaning up my parents' house here in Asheville, but we didn't get a chance to go out to Franklin for the Gem and Mineral Show like we had planned. Oh well! We are at a bead show almost every weekend anyway. So, it's not too terribly bad.

For dinner we made supremely tender rosemary chicken-tenders (with honey mustard), a fresh, summery, spinach salad with black cherries, anjou pears, candied walnuts, and goat cheese, and buttery crositinis topped with homemade roasted garlic hummus.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And the Rain Comes...

video
It rained today and with it came sweet relief. It seems that the build up of pressure just before a down-pour is in direct correlation to my sinus headaches. My skull has become a low-tech barometer. Instead of wires and gears – sinew, cartilage and bone.

I sat out on the covered porch, watching the rain for a long time... feeling the ridges on my face and skull like tectonic plates. I half imagined that my blood was like molten magma, flowing beneath the surface. Beneath the surface is a hidden continent, formed and unformed, shifting and colliding in upon itself. I watched the rain and wondered about this secret place, buried deep within.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Standing Still...

We got back last night from Atlanta and I sort of feel a little lost. It feels like I've left parts of myself behind and they are on the slow track to catching back up with the rest of me. I would blame it on jet-lag, but Atlanta is only a short four hour drive away from Asheville. Maybe it's that I miss my friends from Atlanta like Anne Choi? Maybe all the work that still needs be done is a little too daunting to face head-on? Maybe I just need to drink more coffee?

In any event, I've been trying to get back into the routine to get things done. Earlier tonight we had our friends, J-Me and her husband, Rob, over for dinner. They are both members of a local band called, Silver Hand. Their sound reminds me a lot of early PJ Harvey.
As an appetizer, I made crostinis covered with a thick slathering of brown sugar cream cheese, stewed apricots, and thinly sliced fresh apricots.

J-Me brought over the tasty salad (and an AMAZING chipotle condiment) and Greg grilled steaks and made a scalloped potato in heavy cream dish with Cynthia.

Enchanted Adornments Facebook Fan Page...

Are you a Facebook fan of Cynthia's new book, Enchanted Adornments? If not, you're missing out on giveaway opportunities, contests, and a behind the scenes look at the new book out this Fall from Interweave Press. CLICK HERE to become a fan!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh, Atlanta...

We just got back from the bead show in Atlanta. We had a great time there! I had a lot of fun meeting all the long-time (and some new) Green Girl Studios customers and chatting with them. I had a minor revelation while talking with one of the customers – I'm not a good salesman. There are some folks who are born with the innate ability to sell ice to an Eskimo and I'm not one of them. My joy doesn't come from numbers and dollar signs, but in talking with people and generating creativity. I can, and often do, sit for hours with people discussing creative solutions to everything from stringing to marketing. That's where my joy comes from.

Just down the street from the show was one of the coolest KFC's I've ever seen. The giant chicken's mouth opens and closes!

There's something about the South that puts me at ease and makes me feel completely comfortable. Maybe it's the sweet tea or sing-song accents? Or maybe Southern hospitality? I don't feel like I have to rush my words and hurry up to say what I want. I can meander with my words, like wandering in a garden... finding roses of sharon, crepe myrtles, all spice flowers, and Chinese button bushes along the way. Above are a couple of snapshots of different flowers that I found during my Atlanta travels.

One of the perks of doing the Atlanta show was the opportunity to visit with our friends Anne Choi and Lynn. They are both really awesome! Anne Choi is one of my all-time favorite bead-makers! Visits with her are always inspiring. Another benefit of the Atlanta show is being down the street from the Marietta Diner. The Marietta Diner was featured on the Food Network and for good reason! The food was delicious, the portions ample and affordable, and the service LIGHTNING fast! And let's not forget to mention the cake!

I love visiting cities where friends live. They know all the best places to find really good eats. For instance, Anne Choi took us to Paolo's for Italian Gelato. Look for the line, because folks circle the block for their summer-time gelato fix.

Anne Choi also introduced us to the Highland Bakery. What a wonderful place! It's another example of affordable, delicious, ample-portioned foodie goodness. I adore places with a great neighborhood vibe. The Highland Bakery has that and a hip, friendly staff to boot!

Above is a picture of Azalea trying out the blueberries on her ricotta pancakes. The center photo is a shot of my sweet potato pancakes that were absolutely mouthwatering and utterly delectable! The image on the far right is of Cynthia's French toast. When they say, "thick slices" – they mean it!

The show ended yesterday and today was our day to run around and have a little fun. One of the destinations was Zoo Atlanta. We all had such a wonderful time, but Azalea was beyond herself with happiness at seeing all the animals.

The zoo was studded with bronze sculptures of various animals, all worn bright yellow-gold from countless visitors posing for pictures with them. Above is a collection of photos of Azalea doing just that.

One day we'll get around to putting together a comprehensive scrapbook filled with just pictures of Azalea putting her face in the animal cut-outs. Above she is posing as an elephant, a lion, and a meerkat.

We walked all over the zoo, seeing everything from gorillas, meerkats, elephants, and tortoises.
We particularly enjoyed looking at the red panda, the river otters, the baby pandas, and visiting the parakeet and budgie aviary (there's over 2,000 of them in there!).

After the zoo, we stopped in Alon's for lunch. What a great little foodie market! They have a great selection of paninis, cheeses, and fancy sodas. Not to mention lovely desserts and baked goods!

Our time in Atlanta was good. The only thing we didn't particularly enjoy was the excessive traffic, but the opportunity to spend time with our friends and exploring the city where they live was well-worth it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beaded Links...


Can a piece of jewelry create a feeling of calm and happiness? Check out Lisa's starry bracelet made with "new jade" stones.

How has your web store experience been? Are there too many 3rd party sites to sell or buy jewelry these days? Take the poll as a seller or a buyer.

ABS Editor Heather is on the road. Check out her quick project!

Barbe reviews Simply Gemstones book.

Cyndi shows you the steps to making a simple but sparkling necklace from CopprClay!

Rub-ons and leather – a cool combination for this cuff sample.

The Lampwork Diva gets loopy! Check out Cindy's new project in the summer edition of Step-by-Step Wire!

Jean has a drawing dilemma and asks her friends about what drawing programs they use for beading illustrations.

Lights, Camera, Action! Melanie tells a tale of her Beads, Baubles, and Jewels television taping experience.

Lorelei is giving away a necklace and a copy of Creative Jewelry!

Jean discusses finishing up the challenge, "Use the Muse II," (which was thought up by Scarlett Lanson, using pieces from Rainbows of Light.com and Artbeads.com). She enjoyed it very much, particularly because it made her think!

Melissa shows off a new variation of her lunar phases toggle.

Busier than a bee, Andrew shares fifteen new jewelry designs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Small Steps...

The past few days have been a flurry of activity. So many deadlines... So many things that must get done... So many new things full of terror and excitement... (Half of the things I've done I can't even talk about for fear of being contractually penalized.)

In any event, things have gotten done. (On a side note, I think I'm getting the hang of driving. It's all the pesky things like signaling that are hanging me up right now.) Still there is more yet to be done, but I feel content about the progress made. Small steps. Small steps. Small steps. The good thing is that I didn't have to sacrifice too much family time. We still had dinner together every night and watched two episodes of Heroes: Season One (our latest addiction).

Tomorrow we head off to Atlanta. That has been a carrot at the end of the stick. We'll get to see our good friends Anne Choi and Lynn and perhaps sneak in a trip to the movies to catch the latest Harry Potter movie. It's not all fun and games though, we'll also be set up at the American Gem Expo. The show is Saturday and Sunday at the Mansour Center in Marietta, GA. It runs from 10AM to 5PM both days. (In truth, bead shows are a lot of fun. You get to meet so many new people and talk about beads all day!) If you're in the Atlanta area, you should definitely drop by. We'd love to see you. Don't forget to wear your jewelry with Green Girl Studios components. You get a free bead for representing! Also bring the projects you're working on. I'd love to talk shop with you and see what you're making. That's one of my favorite things. So please drop by and don't forget to say, "Hello!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer 2009 Stringing Magazine...

It seems like summer is almost over and I am surprised that I haven't mentioned the latest summer issue of Stringing Magazine. Do you have your copy yet? Not only is there a necklace design (called Maybe, Sparrow) and a slew of earring designs by your's truly, but there's also really great coverage on beading green and designing on a budget. Check it out if you haven't already!

Fifteen New Designs...

I wasn't joking when I said that I've been busy. Below are fifteen new designs: three necklaces, six earring pairs and six bracelets.

It's not every day when the beads and components laid out on your work table just click! and work together. The above necklace was one of those pieces that sort of materialized out of the chaos of my work station; it's made up of a Green Girl Studios shibuichi bird toggle, seed beads from Jane's Fibers, Czech glass from Raven's Journey, Vintaj natural brass chain from Ornamentea, a Swarovski crystal round from Fusion Beads, vintage Czech glass from Pudgy Beads, a quartz crystal bead from Bead Trust, a polymer wing pendant from Lynn Davis of Expedition D, and a polymer pendant from Heather Wynn that reads: "If my words had wings."

I really love how eclectic this piece turned out. It features beads and components from some of my favorite artisans. The necklace is made up of Peruvian opal and an opalite round from Bead Trust, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, a ceramic pendant from Marsha Neal Studio, a ceramic bird from Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio, a vintage leaf sequin from Gail Crosman Moore, a blue moonstone set in silver from Jess Imports, a coin pearl from Talisman Associates Inc., lots of fine pewter goodness from my family at Green Girl Studios, a Tibetan turquoise encrusted bead capped fossilized conch shell from Pema Arts, ceramic tubes and a spiral pendant from Keith O'Connor, a lampwork ring from Cindy Gimbrone a.k.a. Lampwork Diva, a polymer tube from Grant Diffendaffer, a porcelain doughnut from Joan Miller, daisy-stamped Thai spacers from Na Bo Row, and Vintaj natural brass chain from Ornamentea. The headpins, crimps, and jump rings are from Newtique.

The above design is another piece that seemed to be predestined. I think one of the most important tools an artist has is the ability to see. Sometimes the best and most striking combinations are ones that are right in front of us. It's up to us as the artists to See the pieces and put them together like a puzzle. The above necklace is made up a killer precious metal clay pendant from Melissa J. Lee, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, pearls from Talisman Associates Inc., a bird over cloud toggle in sterling silver from my family at Green Girl Studios, and chain from Ornamentea.

I really enjoy making earrings. I adore the fact that they provide such an immediate source of instant gratification. Starting from left to right: 1) Fine pewter from Green Girl Studios, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, and chain, earwires, soldered jump rings from Ornamentea. 2) Czech glass from Raven's Journey, Niobium earwires from the Odyssey and Bead Expressions, chain from Ornamentea, and image transfer ceramic tiles from Marsha Neal Studio (the male bird on one side and the female on the other). 3) Fine pewter from Green Girl Studios, copper earwires from Ornamentea, and shell discs from J & M Gems 'n' Things. 4) Niobium earwires from Marti Brown of the Odyssey and Bead Expressions, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, fine pewter from Green Girl Studios, and blue sunstone from Bead Trust. 5) Fine pewter from Green Girl Studios, earwires from Saki Silver, vintage lucite from Natural Touch Resin, Swarovski crystal from Fusion Beads, and chain from Ornamentea. 6) Fine pewter from Green Girl Studios, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, and earwires from Saki Silver.

Bracelets are another great way to get some pretty immediate satisfaction. Since they are bigger than earrings, they provide a larger "canvas" for creative problem-solving and expression. Starting from top to bottom: 1) Fine pewter and sterling silver from Green Girl Studios, Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads, pearl coins from Talisman Associates Inc., composite abalone shell from Bead Trust, a lampwork lentil from Lewis Wilson of Crystal Myths, and a lampwork starry night bead from Calvin Orr. 2) Shibuichi toggle from Green Girl Studios, andulucite, smoky quartz, and lava from Bead Trust, and Swarovski encrusted rondelles from Fusion Beads. 3) Gold-plated toggle from Green Girl Studios, Czech glass from Raven's Journey, Swarovski encrusted rondelles from Fusion Beads, and labradorite and smoky quartz druzies from Bead Trust. 4) Sterling silver bird toggle from Green Girl Studios, labradorite polished nuggets from Bead Trust, chain from Ornamentea, and headpins from E2SSupplies on Etsy. 5) Shibuichi toggle from Green Girl Studios, ceramic beads from Keith O'Connor, faceted garnet from Bead Trust, chain from Ornamentea, and headpins from E2SSupplies on Etsy. 6) Lampwork ring from Cindy Gimbrone a.k.a. Lampwork Diva, fine pewter button from Green Girl Studios, ruby quartz from Omega Gems, and Thai silver cornerless cubes from Na Bo Row.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spinning Madly On...

I feel like a top that has been wound too tightly and am spinning a bit too fast and a bit too uncontrolled. I've piled my plate full of projects to do, all with coincidentally the same or nearly the same deadline. We're leaving on Friday for the Atlanta show and there's a million and one things that need to be done before then and I'm starting to feel the pressure.

Left to my own devices, I can suffer through the brunt of it. The sticky part is that under this kind of pressure, I need quiet and solitude and to let the autopilot run. If I try to plan and budget time too tightly or be around other people... it just doesn't work. It's like I'm firing blanks at a fast approaching monster. I feel guilty because I'm at my family's place and I enjoy spending time with them and want to, but I know I just won't get the work done that needs to get done. On a normal day, a minor disagreement about what time I should go to practice driving means nothing in the grand scheme of things. In a way, I've grown to appreciate it. But... when I'm already under pressure, it feels like nails embedded in my skull. Instead of zoning out and working through my deadlines, I start fixating on every word said and it's just not productive.

Right now... the world is spinning madly on.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Brunch Break...

I wish that I could say that today was devoid of activity and all we did was go to brunch at the Corner Kitchen in the Biltmore Village, but it's been very busy here. (We did manage to squeeze in brunch though. I had the Eggs "Bennie", which is a twist on Eggs Benedict. They were served with a side of rosemary potatoes.) For dessert I had Amy's Key-Lime Pie and snuck a couple of spoonfuls of their super thick cheesecake with brulee bananas.

Unfortunately, most of the projects I've been busy at are top secret. So, I will leave it to your imagination until I'm authorized to reveal what I've been working on.

Beaded Links...


A Bead A Day
Lisa's "Swarovski Summer Picnic" project is progressing. The only thing missing are the crystally butterflies!!

School's out for summer, but is it really? Nope, not when you can take one of these free jewelry making e-courses.

Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge painting for July is the Lascaux Cave Paintings. Get your stash of beads out in ivory, red and brown to match the color palette of these ancient drawings.

Wonderful, wonderful , wonderful new CopprClay! Cyndi is so excited about this new material that she can't stop playing with it!

Carmi attempts to create a necklace after a resin pouring disaster.

Cindy shows off some new chain and realizes one should never shop for jeans on her lunch hour.

Check out the 2009 Bead Cruise design contest winners!

Jean Campbell finished off her new LeTemps Necklace design which marries bling to grunge. Hurray!

Lorelei has busted out of the studio and into the Museum of Art for a trunk show.

Jean reviews a different, colorful, and inspiring book called, Create Jewelry: Glass by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett.

Melissa talks about where to find reliable information on copyrights – the U.S. Copyright Office, of course!

Challenging himself with a smaller scale, Andrew tackles doll jewelry. Check out five new designs with dolls in mind!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Busy Day...

Today was another busy day, but with less work and more fun activities. First we started off exploring the DuPont State Forest. This area is home to several major waterfalls like, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls. All of them are breathtakingly beautiful. The constant and even percussion of the rushing white waters is soothing and the energy of place completely calming. I had a lot of fun hiking around and exploring.

Above is a picture of the river from the road. It's just a small taste of the white waters and waterfalls ahead.

Above is a picture of Triple Falls. We all ended up hiking down to the base of the waterfall and climbing up the rocks. From this vantage point we would look only like little tiny ants. You might recognize these waterfalls from the Daniel Day-Lewis movie, The Last of the Mohicans.

The hike along the river was dotted with lots of flora. The paths were flanked with loads of flowers and trees. We also had fun finding raspberries, wild strawberries, and blueberries.

We spotted all manner of fungi. Some were deadly and some were benign. Our policy though was avoid touching them all. None of us are experts and the risk is too high to play around with them.

At the base of one of the waterfalls, a bunch of flower petals had washed up. The image was striking and seemingly poetic.

Hiking with a child isn't an easy job. It takes constant supervision. She could eat a poisonous mushroom, slip on gravel and fall down a ravine or get caught up in poison ivy. Between all of us adults, the warnings kept flying. "Don't do this..." and "Don't do that..." Being a four year old, she'd of course question WHY!?!?! Generally speaking, our answer would be "because you don't want to die." I guess she was getting tired of us saying that, so she started pretending that she was dead. Highly disconcerting, but she thought it was amusing.

After our hike, we went to Ribfest where we enjoyed lots of carnival food and some tasty barbeque. Smokin' Joe's out of Columbus, Ohio has some pretty killer pulled pork sandwiches. Above and to the left is a picture of Cynthia enjoying some ribs. In the center is a picture of a perfect funnel cake that we enjoyed with some tasty Hillbilly cream soda. (Yes, we drank out of a recycled metal can.) To the right is a picture of Azalea on one of the carnival rides. She picked the bright red mustang looking one. It reminded me of Cynthia's first car, which was of course a bright red mustang that she called, "The Red Comet Car."

Above is a picture of Azalea and Cynthia enjoying some cotton candy. Azalea begged for it hard.
When we finished up at Ribfest, we decided to head downtown for a little chocolate. At first the line was ridiculous, so we ducked into Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe to take a look around. When the line finally succumbed at The Chocolate Fetish little we picked out some yummy treats. Above and to the left is a picture of Cynthia waiting for the chocolates to be wrapped up. Above and to the right is a picture of my hand holding a delightful Kahlua truffle.

We were all pretty wiped out from our adventures, so we decided to take a nap. When we got up, we prepared a giant smorgasbord to enjoy for our evening meal.

Along with apple wedges and baguette slices, we served up a variety of cheeses (like brie, jarlsberg, smoked gouda, and a nice triple cream) and dipping oils.

I also assembled these quick little treats. First I smeared on a thick coating of garlic and herb chevre cheese, then added some smoked salmon tips, topped with some chopped scallions and chives, and then sprinkled a few drops of roasted garlic olive oil. The results were rich, creamy, and bursting with flavor.