Monday, February 25, 2013

My Bead Mommy!

She does not know it, but I think of her as my bead Mommy. You know, how kids tell their mommies, oooh...I like this, I wish I had that, and mommies try to get it for them? She does that for me :-)

Want to know who I am talking about? Go visit her at Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections, then go shopping at Sharyl's Jewelry on ArtFire and come back here.

I met her through the ABS challenges, I had realllllly liked one of her creations, specifically, the one from March 2012.

We started talking and have not yet stopped :-) She always has an entry in the ABS challenges, and was featured this time with these gorgeous earrings.

Now coming back to why she is my bead Momma.

Right after we met, she held a bead packet challenge, I won in the drawing to get some gorgeous beads. Every single thing I made from those beads sold. Some even while I was still making them!
There were requests for more, but I did not have more beads, so did not make them again. Sharyl did tell me where she got them from, but I let it go...
Here's what I had made with the bead selection she sent:

Then she hosted another challenge, and I was selected again :-)
And yet again, all my work got snapped up, one of them, again, while I was still making it!
I still have the necklace because I kept it for myself :)

And this time, she sent me a gift! She sent me etched copper earring components! They had little turquoise spirals, which became these can't see the little swirls, but they are what made me make these :-)

By now, she had started making her own, one of a kind components, and I bought a few. Each came with gifts! Like the brass component in this one (sold in spite of design flaw by me)

I bought a few more components, and got few more the greek ceramic daggers in this pair. Yup, these are sold too!

I bought some more components, and here are the contents of my "Sharyl Box"

A bunch of these are gifts from her :) I bought the pink components in my last order, and me being me, wanted to bend and curve them into a bracelet instead of making earrings. I bounced that idea off of her, to ask whether it will ruin the pretty pink color if I did that. We discussed the idea quite a bit, and a few days later, this is what landed in my mailbox!!!

She made me a bracelet component in my favorite green color! Even the packaging is SO pretty! I tried to retie it, but was not able to do as good a job as she did. I have saved the ribbon, will make something from it :)

THANK YOU SO MUCH, SHARYL!!! I bet all this will sell as soon as I use them!

This is just a small sampling of what she does, there are lots of gorgeous, very unique components, and pretty pretty jewelry in her store. Do check it out, and if you buy something, tell her I said hey :-)

Some of my favorite items in her shop right now (click on the pictures to go to the listing)

 This one is on sale!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Week 8 ~ Monochromatic

This week's photography lesson was monochromatic photos.

Here's what Sally said about them:

"Monochromatic photos tell a story, evoke emotion and uncovers the soul with the simple contrast of one color.  Monochromatic photos enable the viewer to see a deeper meaning behind what may be concealed by multiple colors."

 I have to confess I did not pay attention to this challenge. I did take photos while I was gone on a 3 day vacation to Santa Cruz, and I did get some which meet the criteria, but those happened by accident. I did not TRY to find deeper meaning, or to find good subjects for a black and white photo.
Maybe, because deep down, I cannot, or maybe do not want to, imagine life without color. I don't want to see the stark realities that are made bearable by the vibrancy breathed in by color.

Oh I should stop ranting about my philosophy of life and move the photos :-)  

This last weekend was a long one for me, and if you have followed me along on this Focus On Life series, you will remember one of my resolutions was to go some place I have never been on every long weekend. Well, I did! That too on a train! I had wanted to go on an Amtrak vacation ever since I moved to the US...some 15 years back. I figured whatever it was that was stopping me need not do it anymore. I went alone, on an 8 hour ride from San Jose to Santa Barbara. And I loved it!

On the ride back, the day was dull and gray, and here is a picture I shot with my iPhone, with regular settings, from a moving train. I have not made any color corrections, just some brightness/contrast adjustments. Like it? I think its beautiful :)

And since this one is not a "true" monochromatic one, I edited another one from this trip. This picture is of Old Mission Santa Barbara. Founded by the Franciscan Friar Fermín de Lasuén on the Feast of St. Barbara, December 4th, 1786, Old Mission Santa Barbara is also known as the Queen of the Missions. I did not get to take the tour of the place, so am hoping to go back some day.

It does get that old world look in monochrome! 

Not a lot of details jumping out though, I think the picture needs to be a macro to get the true impact of black and white. I tried editing some flower photos I took, but my bright red flowers turned white, and I did not like it. So this scene got picked instead.

Check out what the others have to show at Sally's blog:


Friday, February 15, 2013

Focus On Life Week 7 ~ Beauty of Flowers

Sally started the email containing this week's prompt with:

Earth laughs in flowers
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I agree :-)

I look just like this when I see flowers, especially daisies...they bring me a waaaiiiiide smile :-) But I have never liked to receive flowers as gifts. I feel very uncomfortable that something so beautiful and innocent was cut off to adorn my desk. That makes me sad. So on my desk, flowers are in this up there!

Real flowers, I need to see like this...wild and thriving!

Or like this....graceful and beautiful till the end!

Want to smile more? Go here to Sally's blog!

PS: I will be away from my PC and mostly, the internet until Monday night. Will hop and comment and reply when I am back!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What a wonderful day!

Its been such an unexpectedly great day!

Started off with FaceTime with my Dad and Mom and nieces. Dad accidentally called me instead of my sister. Was a nice surprise. And funny, it felt like I was talking to my bald self :-)

And then FaceTime with my sister who bought a new car. She got lucky a tricky way. Her car got totalled in an accident, she got away with minor scrapes and since it was not her fault, the other guy's insurance paid her good money for a car she was anyway trying to get rid of.

And a friend came over to pick up her birthday gift. Yeah, I'm crazy like that, never gave it to her, and she is easy-going, no hangups. She was in the area and asked if she could pick it up. Was awesome to see her!

And then I went to work to get a raise AND a bonus.

And I scored big time on a Vintaj it at $25 instead of the regular $99. Quite a story behind that one. I found out from friends on FB yesterday that they bought it for $25. They live in the mid-west, I am in California. My Michaels had it on clearance for $59.99 and I let it go.
Then after speaking to my sister, I thought of finding out if they have it for $25 in her town. Turns out they don't have a Michaels at all. But a store 45 miles away from her home had it for that same low price. So I went back and asked at  my local store why there was this difference, and they reduced it for me too! They trusted me, didn't even call the other store to confirm what I claimed! Lesson: Never hurts to ask! I went back and told my other FB friends that this works and at least one of them got it too :-)

And we got cupcakes at work. This happens quite often, but its always good :-)

And then I went to get my hair done. Turns out it was my hair dresser's birthday! I have been going to this sweet old Vietnamese lady for about 12 years now. I was mentally struggling to figure out the total after the big tip I wanted to leave her as a birthday gift (my math skills are legendary, as in they are non-existent), and in the mean time, SHE went and got ME a gift! She said it was Lucky Money for Vietnamese New Year!

I started to open it, and saw it was money, and stopped (I had not seen the Bank of America logo up front). I don't want to know what's in there. This is going to stay with me as is forever in my wallet :-)

My lucky money for my lucky day!

And my hand has been mostly pain-free all day today...first time in 7 months! Hurrah!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Week 6: Feel The Love

This week, Sally asked us to

Feel the love that the universe is trying to show us everyday!

And I have been doing just that :-)

Right now, the center of my life is my hand. Yeah, my life is that simple, no other major fires to put out. I go for physical therapy twice a week, and I have definitely felt a lot of love and care from my therapist, C. She gently probes into what I did the days before each visit, at home and at work, to make sure I am not doing anything that would aggravate the hand. She inquires about my exercises, and gives me hope that I will be well soon if she sees the smallest sign of frustration. I can totally see that she pours her heart into making me feel better, and its not because she's just "doing her job".

I clicked a picture of her working with my hand last week. Felt a bit awkward to tell her why I was doing this, so I fibbed a little bit and said I wanted to show my husband how to use the tool she was using. She's smoothing out all the kinks in my tendons with something called the "Gua Sha" tool

Other than this, I would like to share this picture I clicked of this sweet couple in India...oh, many many years ago

I was vacationing with my family in this hill-top town where the ratio of humans to monkeys was roughly the same :-)

And this one my husband clicked a couple years back in our yard.
He did an entire series of photos...from the day we found the egg to the day the baby flew away never to be seen again.
Here's a link if you want to see:
My Hummingbird Baby, Minky

Yes, love comes in various forms, but only if we have our own heart open enough to receive it :-)

See where all the other participants felt the love and hugs on Sally's blog:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Here's your chance to win a gift certificate to my shop!

January was great, and February seems to be starting with an awesome start!

Sandra of Creative Chaos has decided to help her fellow artists by featuring on of them every month, and also doing a giveaway from the featured shop. Last month was Shelley Graham of Tori Sophia.
And this month, it is me :-)

This time its a double prize! Sandra and Marla of Marla's Mud Creations are giving away $15 each to spend in my shop :)

You have a week to get your name in the go on over and play!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge Reveal 2 (Week 3 and 4 of 52)

Hey back again with another post already!

This is for the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge that I had joined in the beginning of the year.
Its reveal day for week 3 and 4. I only have one pair to show, the last piece of jewelry I made after I was forbidden by the therapist to do more beading.

I made this pair to go with a necklace I sold to a friend. She wanted to gift a whole set to her friend, and liked the necklace.

Since the necklace was a big, statement piece, I decided to make the earring simple.

The "art element" in this pair is the wire arrowhead I made out of matching brown wire. I tried to emulate the shape of the pendant. I wish I had more time and stable hands to really get the shape and scrolling design on the petal. It was a real pain for my hand to make this, but I sure do like how it looks. I hammered the arrowheads down a bit too. I think I like the bit of texture it gave them. Its not quite visible in the photo though :(

Do you like the set?

Apologies for the low-quality photos, I had very little time to make and hand them over to my friend. So just have a bunch of hasty iPhone photos.

Do visit all the other participants of this challenge, there is a TON of eye-candy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Focus On Life Week 5~ Capture Our Hearts

First of all, let me say THANK YOU to all those who have visited my blog lately, and left me comments. I have not yet responded to them, trying to keep my typing to a minimum.
Also, I have not been commenting, although I have visited your blog, for the same reason. Hoping to heal the hand quickly, so I can create and interact in full swing again.


Made it through 4 weeks of focusing on life, and it was definitely an eye-opener! Here's a recap of what I learned the first four weeks:

Week 1: Self-Portrait: This one made me really think about "who" I am. Deep down, not just the persona I present to the world. Deep down, I am Raggedy Anne :-) Happy, with a quick smile, but a bit, well, raggedy.

Week 2: Your Word: Discipline: Thinking of "who" I am in week 1 brought me my word for this year: Discipline! And thinking more about "how" I would implement this word made me realize that I am never mindful of my time. If I schedule things, give myself reminders, I do much better

Week 3: Make Time: Do what truly relaxes me, makes me happy! And that for me, was getting out of the house, getting a bit of pampering and TRAVEL! Decision was made to go explore new places

Week 4: Create Art: Create something...anything. This week, for me, was a summary of what I had learned the previous weeks. On the first long weekend of the year, I finished all my chores (week1-raggedy-no-more), grabbed my camera and went out to explore a windmill farm about an hour away(week3-get-out-there), scheduled the trip, keeping in mind everything else I had to do that day, and was back at the time I had planned to, and finished everything I had to (week2-discipline-watch-the-time). And I created art! I took photographs of the windmills :-)

Here are pictures for all four weeks:

Coming to February! The prompt for this week was to "Capture A Heart".
I thought about it all week long, wanting to capture something unusual. Nothing came to me :(
And then, yesterday, I captured 14 hearts! They came to me in a medium flat rate box. They weighed 9.6 lbs! Yes, I am talking about the beady goodness that was sent to me with SO much love by my friends. You can read more about it here!

I picked out a few hearts from the stash that was sent to me, and I had my picture!

A shot from another angle...

Nothing can beat this!!!! I stopped looking for my "hidden heart".

After I took these pictures, I went to the bakery to pick up a cake for my colleague's birthday. Since I go that bakery very often, I got one of their "reward cards". 10 punches, and I would get a muffin :-)

I selected the cake, and looked in my wallet for the punch card. And what do you think was on it?

Yup! You capture hearts exactly when you stop looking!

Sally, I am not sure how you pick your prompts, but would like to say this: You are enriching my life! For sure!

Alrighty, off you go to Sally's blog to see her heart and all the others linked to hers!

One Lucky Month!!!!

Wow! What a month this has been! I have been showered with gifts ALL month long!
I have won quite a few giveaways, but then I made the tiny effort of putting my name in the hat for them. These gifts...I suppose I got just because :) The best reason, isn't it :)

To start off, my sister went to India and got me not one, but two "ghagra cholis". I don't have pictures, but go here to see what these are!

Then Rita of Toltec Jewels sent me whole set of vintage lucite beads.

Enough for lots of earrings :)

Next up, Sharyl of Sharyl's jewelry...I bought a few components from her, and she added, as always a bunch of goodies along with it. I have a "Sharyl Box" now...and I bet there will be more stuff she just wanted me to have in there, than stuff I actually bought. I don't have pictures, but check out her store, she has sent me a variation of everything in there!

Then....Lori Anderson asked me if I wanted some beads. Who would say no to that! Here's what she sent me...bead soup kits! Ceramic beads, gemstones, seed beads, silver charms, yarn, sari silk and thread :)

And then I bought a few components from Tiffany of Southern Gals Designs, and she sent me this cute pendant as a thank you gift! The picture is not so nice, but the pendant sure is :)

And then Heidi of Ex Post Facto Jewelry goes bead shopping, she puts up pics of her loot on Facebook, I go ooooohhhh at one of them, and next thing I know, this little guy is knocking on my door :) Again, bad picture of a totally cute elephant :)

Then....I bought something from Suburban Girl, Diana Ptazinsky. And this is my thank you gift from her...LOVE it!

 And finally, the mother-load that arrived on the last day of January 2013!

I came home to find nothing in the mailbox...but walked inside the house and saw a big box sitting in the living room. Sender: Marlene Cupo! I lifted the box, and knew something was up! I sent her a message that I have a box, have not opened it yet, but THANK YOU! Then I opened it to find this note:

 Under the note was this!

THAT is 9.6 lbs of awesomeness! 9.6 lbs!

Before this box arrived, and I used to get all goodies from my giveaway winnings, hubby used to say I am doing some black magic and stealing people's goodies. When he saw this, all he said was, "You crazy beady people" :-)

Why did I get this? Sandra McGriff started "Project Bead" and said:
"Project Bead is my baby ... Kashmira is an angel who donates all her shop proceeds to help the kids of Project Why .. so we gathered up a bunch of beads and sent them to her for her to use". That was 14 generous ladies.

Here's what I got:
From Marla Gibson of Spice Box Designs:

She made a gorgeous black and grey bead woven set for me. And in the beads...among other things,

she remembered I was looking for sterling silver earwires, and sent me two packs! And there is two gauges of wire. She also sent me a pack of needles...thanks for the encouragement, maybe I will take up bead weaving soon!!!

Heather Rats of Mama's Craft Room.
This has jasper and aventurines, silver findings, copper chain and a bunch of other cool stuff! There are silver tubes in there that I was longing for! How did she know!!! Thank you!

Marlene Cupo of Amazing Designs
These are unbelievably beautiful polymer clay beads she made. The colors are just gorgeous!

Rita of Toltec Jewels again :) 
This has a whole bunch of artisan beads from some of my fav artists, and something I had wanted since the day I started beading. Blue goldstone! Thrilled, Rita! Thank you! Am sorry about the bad picture :(

 Robin Reed sent me a whole lot of baggies of goodies of different colors...and four boxes of seed beads of the good kind :)
A whole set of different colored beads, I have yet to inspect these closely.But there are some really pretty "chain beads" which I had seen only once before and these are even better than those. Thank you, Robin!

Sandra McGriff of Creative Chaos
This made me laugh out loud :) I have no excuse for not starting the men's line now :) This has bone, antler, wood and metal beads, and sparkly leather cord, also something I have been eyeing for some time now. And a note...saying this is for the Mens Line :-) Thank you, Sandra!

Shelley Graham of Tori Sophia
A really fun mix :) There is one in there with a spiral cage INSIDE the glass! Totally awesome! Thank you, Shelley!

Marti Conrad of Marti's Beads and Buttons
I would always drool over Marti's beads and tell myself "one day, I will get you these". That day is today :) That folded over bead had my eyes pop out :) Thank you, Marti!!

 Courtney Breul of beads by breul
 LOVE that red and yellow disc bead! ANd the yellow and green faceted ones are totally ME. And the dark lonesome bead in the baggie of its own. It is SO amazing, I am floored! Thank you, Courtney!!!

Jenny Davies-Reazor of Jenny Davies-Reazor :D
Utterly gorgeous ceramic focals she made herself, and a surprise Ganesha pendant. So very thoughtful! Thank you!!!!

Lisa Lodge of Pineridge Treasures
The yellow and white lampwork beads warm my heart, and tell me Spring is going to be here soon, and I will see these colors out and about...soon! Thank you, Lisa...these made me smile a happy one :)

Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio
Another artist on my wish-list! Wish come true :) I love them all, thank you!!
Those orange ones are my favorites of the lot :)

Brenda Sue of B'Sue Boutiques
This bag had candy, muahahahaha :)
And steam punk gears...something I don't have, and jewel tone beads, also something I don't have! Fun! Thank you!!!!!

Marla James of Marla's Mud
She had them in two bags, the one on the left has artbeads by other artists. I did not open it yet...but I believe one of them is Lisa Peters Art...another coveted artist! And the one on the right is all Marla's Mud! So much unbelievable variety! And I found a few hiding under the bag after I was done with the pic. Thank you!!!!

Here's everything!

I am so overwhelmed and grateful to all you ladies! I promise to take good care of my hand, heal it quickly and play the heck out of these :-)

Buh bye, January, you have been good to me!