Monday, March 31, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

I'm mostly a dog lover. But I got a kick out of looking at these bird houses. Don't you just want to go out and get one??? Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm Feeling Some Spring in My Step!

With spring fever in the air, I've made some adjustments to the color palette. Here's a recent bead I made . . .

I went on over to the Pantone website to see what colors were hot for spring 2008. This is what I found:

And guess what is also big for the spring? If you have any huge pieces of jewelry stashed away - get them on out! Big jewelry is back!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Deeper Understanding - Eckhart Tolle "A New Earth"

For my fourth week in a row, I've looked forward to Monday nights to do something just for me. I used to read a lot for enjoyment - back when I didn't have a business. But recently, a conversation I had with my sister, led me to do the Oprah workshop with Echart Tolle. It was about doing something just for myself. It wasn't easy to commit to giving up my Monday nights seeing as it is a 1 1/2 hour workshop every Monday. It's a pretty deep read and you need time to sit and be with the book. It's not a book you can (or want to) get through quickly. But now, I love my Monday nights. It's teaching me to slow down and to just be. Why? Because, as he states in the book "energy is much more intensified when you are in the moment". Athletes know this as being "in the zone".

Last night we touched on Chapter Four - "Role Playing: The Many Faces of the Ego". I've always found role playing fascinating. One of the most universal roles we play is the role of the parent. The most important question you can ask yourself is: "Are you able to fulfill the function of being a parent and fulfill it well, without identifying with that function, that is, without it becoming a role?" It's when a parent becomes an identity, the function easily becomes overemphasized, exaggerated, and takes you over. You become controlling, overbearing. Even when the child is now 40 years old, parents can't let go of the notion "I know what's best for you". Parent define themselves by that role and are unconsciously afraid of loss of identity when they cease being parents. It's always easy to look around you and see that mother who tells her child she knows best. Or to see a friend who is so identified with being a mom that she even has a bumper sticker telling the world this. But, hopefully, what the book will do for me is give me a better understanding of not just others, but myself.

There was something else that really did resonate last night. I wrote about an experience I recently had with a doctor. The funny thing, Oprah said she recently had the same experience where she felt "dismissed". But what Echart discussed about role playing really made sense of this experience for me. When doctors become too identified with a role - they're trapped. My not feeling acknowledged was a result of his being trapped in his role. But when a doctor can put his role aside, and BE with a patient, that makes hime a better doctor. When you can be, you're making the other person feel acknowledged, listened to and important.

I know Eckhart Tolle had written another book called "The Power of Now". Many people were already familiar with Eckhart because this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller with over 2 million copies sold. I guess I've found the next book I'll be reading. This spring, as new life appears on trees and from the earth, I'll be doing some digging as well. We never know what lies ahead. So what seemed like a simple conversation between me and my sister, has blossomed into something else. I feel myself being led to where I need to go.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

Anenomes. . . from the land and sea - enjoy the beauty and have a marvelous Monday!
Well, not quite from the sea but sea inspired!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Finds - Etsy and the Web

Amy Glassenberg - an artist whose work has been seen on Design*Sponge and the Craft magazine blog - is now part of a show at Artstream in Rochester, NH. She makes these really adorable soft sculptures and toys. And yes, she has an Etsy store. Her little birds have such great expressions and character, I just want to take them all home. Click on the smaller multi-image picture to view the birds that will be featured at the Artstream show. And this one is "Pyrrhuloxia" - a rather spiffy looking chap.

And if you'd like to see more of her work, you can visit her blog "While She Naps". You guessed it, she does her art while her daughters nap!

And if you have a sweet tooth like me and like macaroons I have a great site to share. It's called Mark It With G. These are not your everyday macaroons. They've got the usual flavors with a twist. Here are some of their flavors: pistachio, lavendar caramel, german chocolate, rose petal mousse and poached pear. This is what they say about the poached pear: "We poach local organic pears in beaujolais, cassis, rosemary, vanilla bean and clove then simmer to a sweet and savory reduction that fills our poached pear macaroon." Okay, give me a moment . . . . phew! Okay, I'm good.

"You nourish your soul by fulfilling your dreams" - Harold Kushner

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Procrastination . . . Again/Are you a Slave to Fashion?

If anyone sees pictures of my studio in the near future, you'll understand why I'm saying I'm supposed to be cleaning. I'm trying to be more present (Eckhart Tolle - "A New Earth") but I'm noticing how cleaning makes me feel (tinge of sarcasm) - so I'm procrastinating (back in my comfort zone) and blogging instead!

As someone who lately has been needing a fashion intervention, I got a chuckle out of the latest fashion from Japan. Have you seen these pictures on the internet? They're the latest rage. So hip, it hurts! Honestly, I really thought it was a joke. But this is for real. Sales of these shoes are estimated to run about $100 million! Youch!!!

It's causing twisted ankles, broken bones, scuffed knees, bruised faces all in the name of fashion. There have been more serious accidents as well. You can read more information about this here. What's next, stilts???

So ladies, if Manolo's are being sold in Japan, I guess they'd be considered the new "flats"! Mind-boggling!

Sigh . . . OK - I'm really going to go grab that vacuum now . . . after I sand a few beads.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Doctors, Trusting your Intuition

A number of months ago I had my first attempt at a colonoscopy. I never had the procedure because I had to cancel the evening before. The liquid diet literally made me sick. With flu-like symptoms, it made for a very unpleasant night. When I made the second appointment I told them I needed to do things differently so the same thing wouldn't happen and we could go through with the procedure. I didn't feel like the protocol changed much and was concerned about my second attempt. But you know, you have faith (at least we try) in the doctors and what they're doing, so I hoped that this time it would be better. But it wasn't. After the second attempt, I had to cancel the procedure again. This time, the doctor and I spoke without having to go through the nurses. He said in all his years, he'd never come across this. I got the distinct feeling I was being dismissed. I felt very unempowered. His next solution was to hospitalize me in order to do the procedure. This is a 20 minute procedure and I wondered how the insurance company would like this! But what really concerned me is that he said there wasn't really any way they could do things differently. I would still have to do the liquid diet the day before the procedure. So in my mind, I would get horribly sick and I wasn't really sure if I could put myself through this again. It didn't sound like much of a Plan B to me. It just sounded like he was just going to get the procedure done - no matter what it took. There was no compassion. My gut was telling me to run! At that point, my intention was to get another doctor - quick.

I had a past experience with another gastro doctor over 20 years ago. He managed to be able to help me when another doctor could not. This doctor's name (or a form of it) somehow entered my consciousness at the right time - when I was paying attention. I had only used him once and had to think really hard to remember his name as it was unusual. I went online and googled how I thought it was spelled and up he popped! I decided I would give his office a call. I felt if anyone could figure this out - he could. When I called his office, I asked if he did these procedures. I was happy to hear he did. I set up an appointment and met with him. We talked for about 30 minutes or so going over history. But during that appointment, he said something to me that really stuck with me. He said - "you know, I have patients that I've seen for many, many years. Sometimes I get patients like you, who come to me, I treat them, they leave and then I never see them again. I always wonder what happened to them? I wonder how they're doing, how their health is and how their life is. So tell me, what have you been doing for the past 20 years?" I proceded to tell him I was married w/children, etc. I told him how I was so thankful he had been able to previously help me before when another doctor couldn't. He acknowledged that doctors are given so much power. But sometimes, they don't always have the answers. They don't always know what would be the best approach. Who knows, maybe they use their gut or maybe they don't even pay attention to it. But I knew with him, I'd found someone who did.

During this appointment, he told me how there have been articles written over the past two years specifically about fasting vs. not fasting. There were a number of doctors who were from the school of thought that it might be better not to fast. He said he felt this would be the case with me. So we came up with a plan of action, and set the appointment up. As I left his office, he shook my hand and said - "we're going to do this." I felt confident we would. He can't imagine how that made me feel. I felt cared for, empowered, and in control.

Yesterday, before the procedure, he shared with me a recent article he had read. He said it made him think of my previous experiences. It was about a guy who worked out at a gym and was having all kinds of muscle problems. But no one could figure out why. He lived with this for years. It wasn't until recently, they discovered he had some sort of muscular disorder. There was a name for it. He then told me that he knew at some point in time, they will have a name for what I have. Someday.

We, as patients, are in the hands of our doctors and trust that they will take good care of us. This is not always the case. I'm not blaming the other doctor, he was just doing the best job he could with the patient load he has. I was very lucky to have found Dr. Aserkoff - again. He is a doctor who truly cares about his patients. He couldn't necessarily solve the big mystery as to why my body reacted the way it did, but he listened and managed to come up with a plan. He's compassionate and the kind of person who makes a great doctor. I find myself reflecting on how he came into my life. Two brief moments in time. But brief moments can also be very powerful. Sometimes we doubt, don't hear or don't pay attention to that little voice. They are the whispers of the universe. We have to learn to pay attention and trust our gut. Whether it's about doctors or some other situation in life - are you listening?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

Sea Urchins - what wonderful creatures! Here are a few for inspiration! Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Marimekko Rediscovered

Do you remember the Marimekko designs of days past? Do you remember the big, bold prints on their bedding? Boy, sure brings back memories. This is a company that started in Finland in 1951. I must be living in a bubble, because I'm thinkin' - where have I been?

When did this happen? They not only do bedding, they do kitchen, bathroom, kids' rooms, offices, school accessories, clothing . . . yes, clothing, bags and the list goes on. For the complete line of their spring fabrics, click on this picture.

And here's one of my favorites.
Scroll through their website - I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas for retro canes !

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Photos from the Studio, Free Bead of the Month

I got back in the studio yesterday trying to catch up with everything that needs to be done for my show this weekend. I made a number of my magnetic clasps for crocheted necklaces. I set the magnets into the tube. The silver is beveled over the end where the magnet sits. I use rare earth magnets and they are so strong that they would pull each other out of the tube if I were not to do this. The other end is open, as you can see, where you would insert and epoxy in the crocheted rope.
I also did a number of sheets for some beads. I thought I would give you an idea as to how my process works. The color palette I worked with today was green and orange. I did individual sheets about 1.5 square inches. I try to plan or get an idea of what the reverse side should look like. Sometimes feelings or words come to mind as I'm working.

For example, the green design on the far left I was contemplating about fences and gates. Are they protection or a prison? Sometimes people put up all sorts of walls for protection, but in doing so, they become imprisoned. This led to all kinds of thoughts about boundaries, vulnerability, the power of the mind, being present and on and on. One simple pattern . . . deep thoughts - who knew?

And one last thing, this month my free bead of the month went to to Vivianne from New Hampshire.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Parent's Worst Nightmare

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I am writing this. Our neighbors got a phone call, the one that no parent should ever have to get. Their son was found dead in his dorm room. They're calling it an accidental overdose. Our town is in shock and mourning. We're all trying to make sense of this. This is a kid I watched grow up from his pre-school days to his first year at college. He came from a good family - one who always loved and supported him. I can't stop thinking about the unimaginable pain they are suffering. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Karen, Don and Brian and the rest of their extended family for the strength they will need in the days ahead.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kitchen Disaster - But Wait - Could this be my new Texture Plate?

I was having a huge craving recently for some licorice caramels. So I went on-line and got a recipe. Easy. I love to bake but candy making was new territory for me. I've had a candy thermometer for years and never had any use for it until now. The recipe was rather simple and straightforward. After all the ingredients were in the pot and looking good, I started to bring the mixture to a boil. The directions said "stir until boiling and then stop and continue until the temperature reaches 242 degrees". I was concerned about the stopping part as I knew there was a chance things could burn as there was sugar involved. But, I decided to follow the recipe. After a while, I could see it would take a while to get up to the temperature needed. I just had to stir to see if everything was ok. That's when it happened. As I stirred, all this black crud starting rising to the top. This was not good. This candy was past the point of no return. I turned the unit off and let things settle, cool and I proceeded to dump it out. Ooooey, goooey, mess. I put hot soapy water in to see if I could salvage the pot. Nothing doing! I put the pot aside and thought maybe I could crack the stuff off the bottom. Now there's a plan . . . but wait - there's something interesting about what was on the bottom of the pot. What do you think? Do you see it?

How about now? Yeah, I thought you would! A nice new texture plate! After cleaning it, I dried it and let it sit overnight.

I added a few coats of Liquitex varnish so that nothing gross could get on the clay.

And here's the result of the burned pot technique! Cool, eh? Now . . . if only I had a licorice caramel, life sure would be grand!

I see that Polymer Clay Productions has a new podcast up. It's about the artists they met in Baltimore, panel discussions, the Synergy Gallery, interesting conversations, and yes, new products. To listen in, click here.