Thursday, December 20, 2012

How My Guitar String Jewelry is made

Since half of my handmade jewelry is made with guitar strings, donated by my husband and a few awesome musician friends, I thought I'd share the process of how it all happens.

First I want to share a cool video from the show "How it's made" on the making of guitar strings.  I was pretty fascinated by the process myself.

Then........... step two.  Music is made and the magic begins.

Joe Barborich and Scott Walters of The Katz Sass Blues Band (my hubby is the cute one on the left)

Then......... step three.  The used strings are gently placed into my super special "Guitar String Box"

Then......... step four.  Ta Da!!!!!!  After hours and hours of contemplation and pilot programs and test driving :D............

Then........ step five.  To the shipping department to be packed up and out the door for speedy delivery  to a very happy customer


So there you have.  From womb to tomb as they say in the manufacturing business.  Hope you enjoyed this demonstration of a very complex and logistically complicated process.  

Blessings to All

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My take on the State of the Union

I have been quiet through all of the postings and rhetoric this election season.  I did my homework and read and researched.  I am an Independent.  I hold affiliation to neither of our two main political parties.  I am comfortable in what I believe in and what is important to me.  I’m smart enough to know that you can please Some of the people All the time, All of the people Some of the time, but not All the people All the time.  I am concerned about the “divide and conquer” mentality (our enemies are loving it), the anger on both sides, the missed opportunities to have meaningful debate, the state of the Middle East and of course the state of Our Union.    

We cannot rely on the government (and I mean ALL branches) to make things better right now. It is the same as it was two days ago.  Only WE can make it better mostly by our actions everyday in spite of what the government deems is “the best for America”.  We know that “the best for America” is a strong sense of self, how we as individuals add value to a society and community.  Whether it be the small or large business person, the waitress, the cabbie, the teacher, the soldier, yes and even the banker.  We all need to support each other and help each other in each ones journey through this process called the American Life.    

I love this country but I believe this country will not survive and prosper if half the population is supporting the other half.  Because some of the half that are the supporting cast will eventually give up and join the ranks of the dependent, and the others will just leave.  I know these words will piss off a lot of people.  We need to as a community of Americans show how to become self reliant and self determined again.  We cannot demonize people because they have a boat load of money or are living off the system.  There will always be rich people and there will always be poor people no matter what political party is in office and who controls Congress.  And there will always be people who hate what America stands for and will try and tear it down and try to make us like everyone else, creating a society of no hope to succeed or become better, and no dreams for a more prosperous, diverse and fulfilling way of life.   But, we weren’t born to be that way.  At least I wasn’t.  

I believe in equal rights, a balanced budget, taking care of our elders and veterans and those that are truly and honestly in need.  I believe that if you love someone and want to marry them you should be able to.  I believe in OUR Constitution which includes our right to keep and bear arms and protect ourselves.  That having a job, getting a paycheck, is a good thing.  That the government should stay out of religion and vise versa. I believe that the government should keep its nose out of any medical decisions my doctor and I make, and as far as abortion goes - that is between a woman and the God of her understanding.  

I believe that we as a nation need to protect ourselves by any means necessary from bad people who want to hurt us, both off shore and within our own borders.  I believe we ALL need to be held accountable for our actions.  I believe we need to be energy independent through ALL means and sources - coal, water, oil, wind, sun, fungus, you name it lets do it.  

I believe that a strong economic environment is the key to everything - more people working means more people paying taxes which means a lower debt - more national security in every sense of the word, less welfare, more self awareness and self reliance.  

I believe that we need to make sure that those folks who live in our country are here legally and if they are not to help them through the legal process of becoming Americans. My grandparents came to this country to become Americans.  Not Italian-Americans but Americans.  I believe that once you take your class, sign that paper, and take that oath you are an American, with whatever heritage or descendant background you bring with you.  I love diversity and love the faces of all of America.  But we are citizens of this nation and that makes us Americans. 

My state of bliss is not all fluff and lalalala, Omming, and the government will take care of it.  My state of bliss is having the fortitude to find what I love to do and work hard at it to make it successful because my Dad always told us “No one is going to hand it to you on a silver plater”.   My state of bliss is having that opportunity to make money to be able to support myself and family, my spiritual community, and my local community.  My state of bliss is having the ability to save for the day when I can rest and go fishing, or travel.  My state of bliss is having the amazing friends I have.  

This is the only political statement I have made and will make.  Be well my Friends.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What do you hear when you see colors?

Trying to describe color is, I think, one of the hardest parts of writing descriptions for my jewelry.  It's easy to write about the kinds of materials you used and what colors and size they are,  but how do you explain a color.  Now, I'm a song writer and am usually pretty good with words and putting my thoughts on paper (yes, I still use paper and pencil).  But this is so totally baffling to me.  I read other artisans descriptions and they are lovely.  They really paint a true picture and emotion of the piece.  Why can't I do that?  And how many ways can you compose an embellishing dissertation of 250 plus words about a guitar pick earring so Google will like you?

The SEO gurus say that you should describe your items as if you are explaining them to some one who is blind.  Well, since I have been seeing my whole life I cannot imagine not seeing color so how do you interpret it and translate it in a way that someone who is without sight can understand.  OK, so red is hot, like fire.  Blue is cold like reaching into the freezer and pulling out a frozen bag of corn, grey is that feeling you get on a damp day.  Orange and yellow are like the feeling of sunshine on your face.  

All these are well and good but how about pale green and turquoise, burgundy could be referenced against the smell of a wine, and rose of course to the flower, but there again you have different colors of roses.  Copper, and purple.  You could pick up a hand full of dirt and say this is what brown feels like but who wants to describe a lovely stone like a brown Labradorite as dirt.  And pink, it's such a soft visual color, is it soft like the fur on my kitty?  But she's a ginger color, so ginger is soft to me.  Ach!!!!

Here-in lies the problem.  

But wait...... I remember my friend Mike saying one time after a particularly rough gig, "don't worry" he says, "most of the time people hear music with their eyes"  Meaning that if you put on a great performance visually, the music then becomes sort of secondary in their heads. 

OK. So. Spin it a bit.  Ask myself - what do I hear when I see a color.  Now I have Diana Ross in my head singing " I hear a symmmmmphony...."  OK, back on point.  But that is the point.  If red is hot and fiery, then it's a screaming lead on a guitar like Steve Vie in Crossroads,  if it's blue then Eric Clapton comes to mind, cause he is the coolest ya know.  Lavender is Stan Getz playing the sax.  Magenta is Cristine Aguilera,  green is ....... Kermit The Frog.  I couldn't resist that one.  But I guess I'm getting the picture at last. 

Note to self - have pad and paper handy when listening to radio in car in case the color Cyber Grape comes on.   

Have a bright, bright, bright, sunshiney day!!!! :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's all about planning.

Plan your hours to be productive;

Plan your weeks to be educational;

Plan your years to be purposeful;

Plan your life to be an experience of growth;

Plan to change;

Plan to grow.

- Iyanla Vanzant -

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From Rockets to Chocolate - Finding your passion

My husband and I took a little vacation like we do every year to N. Carolina to visit his daughters.  They are both grown and in college and both are doing amazing things with their lives.  They are finding their way through this crazy world we live in and although it has not been easy at times, they have muddled through and are shining examples of what hard work and a little sacrifice will get you.  One will graduate next spring the other has three years to go, but will also being doing a 4 month study in Italy.

On this particular trip we just happened to stop in at a shop called Mountainside Chocolates that was on our way back to our hotel and just off the road.  Well, I've got to tell ya, it was one of the funnest places.  Not only were the chocolate creations and ice cream super yummy but the owners were super nice and such congenial people. We ended up hanging out and talking with them for quite a while.  Ric, had his guitar leaning on a shelf by the door and of course we started talking about music, do you play, we play, my step-daughter plays and the other sings and we started jamming right there in the shop, each taking turns.  It was a hoot.

We asked how he got into the chocolate business and he proceeded to tell us with gusto and great enthusiasm about his journey from being an engineer at Lockheed, to his retirement and how he came upon this shop through a friend of his. How he met his girlfriend who also works in the shop.  It had all come about so naturally that it appeared to be destiny.

He shared his recent experiment with us and explained some things about how chocolate really doesn't go bad, but the white substance that forms on it is not mold but it is its reversion back to sugar.  That's my simple synopses. He went into much more detail than that I just can't remember it all.  He talked about how everything is handmade right there, how he learned the skill, showed us the master recipe book.  Oh it was so informative and fun.

An interesting lesson in life.  Back around 2005 when we learned that our company had declared bankruptcy and they were going to close our factory a lot of folks were in a panic as to what the next phase of their lives would be.  I was fortunate that I could retire and I had my music and my jewelry to fall back to.  I just kept telling everyone that this was a golden opportunity to find that one thing that you'd always wanted to do but never had time.  Turn your craft into a business, go back to school, learn something totally new.  Find your passion.  A few of my work mates have and Bravo to them.  I didn't have to find mine, I already had it.

Ric, too, is an example of life after your corporate job.  Who would have ever thought that a rocket scientist would end up making chocolate delicacies in a little shop in Silva North Carolina and loving every scrumptious minute of it.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making it happen, Keeping it happening.

 "Either you're working hard trying to make it happen, or you're working three times as hard trying to keep it happening. There's a difference between lifting something up and holding something up. There's two different degrees of strength.” - CeeLo Green

Some of you are familiar with CeeLo Green from the TV show "The Voice" and from the group "Gnarls Barkley" and maybe all kinds of other musical endeavors this talented music artist has been involved with.  I only knew of him from the show and the group myself.  However I just finished reading an article from the website with their picks of the 100 most creative people in business in 2012.  Being a musician and artist I like reading about what inspires people and what keeps them going creatively.  This was a very inspiring article for me.  

That whole article and a few of the others in that list got me thinking a lot about innovation and the proverbial box that needs to be thought outside of.  I have struggled with this my whole life trying to balance practicality with expressing what is truly running amok in my being.  There came a point where I said screw the practicality and just go for what is driving you Crazy ( that song by Gnarls Barkley is one that I can totally relate too) 

I am not having much luck on the musical front, mainly finding other musicians who want to  perform music that says something meaningful, matters, and is entertaining too.  I can make music happen but a lot of folks are pretty much stuck in the mainstream rut of "if it ain't played on the radio 40 times a day I don't want to hear it".  Really??? What a shame.  There is so much amazing music out there that unfortunately falls on very few ears, even with the influx of internet and phone apps that cater to personalizing a persons listening enjoyment.  So I guess that's where the keeping it happening part comes in.  

And then there is the jewelry design side of me.  Just like the music business it is very competitive and saturated with expectations on the latest trends and flavors and I've asked myself too many times, " so how do I keep my voice in that genre too".  I'm doing well, reaching out and continuing to travel down new roads.  Building a business takes time.  The learning curve,  the world wide web, fan bases, web sites, SEO.........

In re-reading my last two paragraphs I have to ask myself, "Are music and jewelry design that much the same?" 

The point I am trying to get to is one of perseverance and fortitude, experimenting with different mediums, and stretching the thought processes beyond what is immediately in front of your face.  What about branding and getting yourself out there not just in your designated circles but grabbing on to the fringes and tugging at them too.  That's what I've started to do and will see where it all takes me.  

I'm OK with the lifting and holding up part of both my creative out-of-the-boxes.  I believe that what I've started can only expand and grow because that is the nature of energy.  Keeping everything fresh, constantly, and being aware of my own consciousness and following that spark of an idea that takes me in another direction, again, is what keeps me strong and celebrating my creativity.  

Does that make me Crazy.......... possibly.  

Thanks for visiting my blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Creativity Running Amok

In an article from Flavorpill - 15 famous authors on why they write Don DeLillo said "It frees us from the mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture, but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”  This struck me hard as I believe this to be true for any artistic medium.  There is something in us artistic types that needs to do what we do.  It is not a choice.  It is innate. Creativity runs amok in our blood and the only way to tame it is to get it on paper, canvas, music notation, strung on beading wire, wrapped around a crocket hook........ etc.  

Without our craft we are simply blobs unable to function properly in our everyday lives.  It is our dissatisfaction with the mundane, the conformity, the everybody must be and do what some media or social device tells us is the cool thing to be doing at this moment.  This may work, and obviously does, for so many people.  But for others, not so much.   

I can't tell you how many times people ask me, as a jewelry designer, if I make 'such and such' a thing.  You know, the latest trendy trinket that Everybody is wearing.  I say No.  Because to be honest, when I've done that, I've been so miserable because I felt I 'sold out' and compromised my creative process.  And because my spirit wasn't into the thing, they never sold well.  Lesson learned quickly and I'll never do it again.  

Now, I'm not saying this to dis anyone.  We all have to make a living and if one enjoys and is completely content and satisfied with what they are doing then more power to them.  I respect that whole heartedly.  I believe in and have become intimate friends with what runs amok in me.  I can see no other way.  I can find no other relationship that quells that stirring.  

Being an individual in this world is vital to my survival as a human be-ing.  To tap into the 'amok' is the most freeing thing I've ever done.

Thanks for visiting my blog

Monday, June 4, 2012

My First Festival Show - Things I learned

Woohoo!!!!!  Just did my first festival show this past weekend.  I had blast.  Did quite well on sales too  :)  I was very proud of myself at how prepared I was but I also learned a lot.  I had read quite a few blogs on tips for craft/art shows, the 'to do' and 'not to do' lists, how they set up their tables, yadayada.  I didn't know what to expect and went in with eyes wide open.  

Should not have left the tarp in the car.  Yup, had a cloud burst and it rained for about 20 minutes which to a degree was good because when it rains folks look for shelter, and I had a canopy.  The ends of my tables got wet but nothing a little time, wind, and sun wouldn't take care of. 

The breeze was gusty and blew over one of my earring spinners and most of my necklace displays so I will try the rolled up packing tape under the base of the displays procedure to secure them to the table, and someone suggested to place a rock on the inside of the earring spinners.  We'll see how all that works next time.  

I think I still need a little more height, a couple more platforms to put the earring spinners on maybe.  I'll figure something out.

I need to iron my table skirts, although once then get packed up they may get all wrinkly again but maybe not as wrinkly as they were.    

I need to make more signs to advertise and draw people into my booth.  Big ones that people can read as they pass by.  Especially for my Guitar String Jewelry, after all, most of the shows I have lined up this year are at music festivals.  

I should have brought paper clips to show how to easily latch your bracelets.  Its in my Helpful Hints section. 

The best part - seeing my customers face to face.  Not that online selling is bad, not by any means, but you don't get that organic rapport.  You don't get to see a customers reaction to a piece - "OMG this bracelet will go perfectly with that dress I just bought", or see the look on their face when they hold a pair of earrings up to their ears and say "I really like these, don't they look great with my hair?"  Or being able to help a Dad pick something out for his daughter, help a customer decide which blue work best with their outfit.  I had a friend purposely come with no jewelry on because she wanted to adorn herself with something from me.  How sweet was that!!!!!  

I've been selling online for over two years but have been designing for over 15.  I've been selling in consignment shops and before I "retired" I sold a lot at work.  But this, well, it was quite validating.  I love every piece that I make and have a so much fun doing what I do.  
I'm constantly trying to come up with new creations, designing pieces that are different than what you see elsewhere.  I heard that a lot, "Your stuff is really unique" "What a cool idea......."  "Oh, these are fun.....".  I'm not making this up.  I purposely listened to what shoppers were saying, there comments about any aspect be it pricing or design,  negative and positive, taking notes because there's always something to learn, some thing that I could do better or make more of, like necklaces, and anklets.      

I know every show may not be as delightful and fulfilling as this one, although I hope they will be.  My next one is in three weeks.  I've got a lot to do.  

Thanks for visiting my blog.
Blessings to All

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

50 ways to Cope with Stress

Love This............... It's not that hard really.  You don't have to do all of them but if you can attempt at least half of them then I think you're on the right track.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In The End......

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover."
~  Mark Twain ~

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Mothers Voice

A couple of weeks ago my husband found a box in the basement containing old reel to reel tapes.  Holy cow, I hadn't thought about those old tapes in a long time (Some of us over 40 remember what those are right?) Anyway, we had them dumped on to CDs.
A lot of what was on the tapes were recordings my Mom had done off the radio or from her albums by placing the microphone in front of the speakers of our Hi-Fi stereo.  I remember her doing this.  This was pre-everything we know today about home recording.  Pre-cassettes, pre-CDs, pre-cell phones, pre-digital anything.  So I suspected as I inserted the CDs into the player that the quality was going to be less than what I was used to with a lot of hissing and tape noise.  Plus understand that these tapes were over 40 years old.  Well, much to my surprise a lot of the recordings were clean with very little hiss.  Some not so much.  But all in all, according to the gentleman that did the work for us, in wonderful condition.
My Mom loved the saxophone so it was no surprise that a lot of the music was sax music.  I recognized several recordings as that of a friend of hers. The other discs had just a whole bunch of different music.  Some show tunes and some big band.  Plus there were recordings of my bother reciting the nativity and he and my sister singing Christmas carols.  Way cute!!!!
Disc 2 was the one that brought me to tears.  What my Mom had done was tape herself singing along to albums.  I hadn't heard her sing in over 20 years.  And this was the voice I remember growing up.  Warm, deep, full of passion and youth.  She sounded like Rosemary Clooney but with Sinatra-esque phrasing.  She used to sing a lot locally with all the bands in the area and did all the variety shows, back in the day.  When I was old enough we used to go to piano bars together and sing, especially this one that had Sam the piano man.  He was amazing and just a lot of fun.  We'd wait there for my Dad to get off of second shift.  Looking back on that now it was really cool to be able to sing all those old songs with my Mom.
The reason that this means so much to me is that my Mom has Alzheimer's (she was diagnosed about 7 years ago) and she suffered a stroke last November.  Although I know she still remembers all those old tunes as that is the nature of the disease, her experience of that music in her mind only happened yesterday.  She is now in a memory care assisted living community.  She seems happier than I've seen her in years.  She's laughing more and her sense of humor has come back.  They do all kinds of wonderful activities and the "characters" in that place make me smile.  But that's another blog post.
Just hearing her voice on those recordings filled me with so much joy, yet immense sadness. My mind drifted back and I heard her calling us all in for supper from the back porch, talking in Italian on the phone with her sister, singing with us in the kitchen after supper as we did the dishes and cleaned up, and hanging out with her at the piano bar. I also remember the family reunions in Connecticut where most of my uncles were musicians and they would jam in the garage and my Mom would sing with them.  We've talk about those times a lot when I've visited.
Those recordings and my memories are all I have left of the Mom of my youth.  She doesn't remember what she had for breakfast now and that's OK, because when I look into her eyes I see the stories in the years that have passed, the experiences of our lives, and all the fun we had together as a family even if she has a harder time recollecting those days.  I love her as deeply today as I ever did, and the woman I see in that wheel chair is still that same sweet, funny, beautiful woman I remember.  What's even more awesome is that I not only have her voice on tape but in me, and I will always treasure that gift she passed on to me.
Happy Mothers Day Mom.
Your Baby Girl

Friday, May 4, 2012

Plant Impossible Gardens

More thoughts in my interpretive series on “How to be an Artist” by Sark


Plant Impossible Gardens ~
An Impossible Garden will never be done.  Since I bought my house in 1995 I have been expanding and expanding my garden.  I have a pretty good size city lot so it was easy.  I had to take down a bunch of Boxelder trees, they were icky anyway, to let some sun onto the yard.  The soil was clay so it literally took years to amend in order for most plants to grow.  A friend helped me build a vegetable bed behind my garage but that moved 12 years ago because the maple tree which I refused to take down got big and beautiful and completely shaded that area.  I moved the veggies to the back of the lot where there is sun all day and lots of room to cultivate a great crop.    
The flower beds started here and there and then spread to everywhere as plants were split and shared with friends and they in turn shared some of there overages with me.  As the garden thrived I kept making more room for it by replacing areas of lawn.  Every year I buy one perennial along with some annuals to change the texture and color for that year.  I put the annuals in pots and just move them around as the flowering season changes so there is always color in those areas where the blossoms fade and are done blooming.  
My trouble spot is in the front of the house which faces north.  It gets early morning sun on half and evening sun on the other half.  It has been a challenge even with the part sun plants.  The shade ones do just fine but they don’t provide enough color for me so I have chanced it with the part sun varieties.  I’ve lost a few along the way but I think I finally got it down now.  
The flower beds around the patio probably won’t change too much.  Those were the first areas I planted.  I may shift things but I’m pretty comfortable with them.
So why go into all this about my garden?  It’s life.  We start off with a little bit and then slowly add to the landscape of our lives.  What gets overgrown we trim, we share what we don’t need, take chances and expand our spiritual acreage so that we may learn more and grow in self awareness.  Sometimes we have to switch things around as we change with our own seasons and alter what feeds us to get ourselves back into the sunlight.  
We constantly evolve and change and grow.  Though some things will remain the same about you, your heritage and upbringing, those are the seeds of your garden and what you do with it is all up to you.  That knowledge and the experiences you gain on your life path is the freedom, joy and uncertainty of planting an Impossible Garden.  One that is never done.
Blessings to All

Monday, April 9, 2012

Discovered Treasures: Music Appreciation

I wanted to share this post from Suzanne Medrano's blog Discovered Treasures.  Being a musician myself I love all things musically artsy.  Well these ladies have it going on.  Please check it out.

Discovered Treasures: Music Appreciation

Friday, March 30, 2012

Repurposed and Redesigned :)

Sometimes I look at some of my older designs and ask myself, "What were you thinking?" Not that those pieces are ugly or anything, it's just that they stop speaking to me. So I end up pulling them out of stores and put them in the 'someday I'll figure out something else to do with these' box.
                                             Well, this is that moment.

 I decided to try something a little different and I absolutely love the results. I was browsing around the bead store last week and saw these bags full of ribbons of cut up saris. AHA!!!!!! Bought some. I ran home, well, drove home, and ran up the stairs to my studio, pulled out some of those older pieces out of that box and just started going crazy. I have brought new life into them and am just ecstatic.


These are coiled guitar strings from my Guitar String Jewelry line that I wrapped with the sari ribbons.  I can't wait to make more of these in different colors.

     These guys are pieces that I wove, wrapped and knotted ribbon around and through to give them a whole new and unique, unboring look.  I also added some bobbles and charms.  



The crazier part of all this is that I had a skirt hanging in my closet that is made of recycled saris.  Boing went my brain again.  Out came the scissors.  Now all I have to do is wait for the strips to dry because I have them "crinkling" on my shelf.  

So, another project, another creative adventure, another reason to get my butt out of bed in the morning.  And most importantly, another awesome collection of cool jewelry designs.  

Blessings to you all and thanks for stopping by and reading my blog

Monday, March 19, 2012

~ Culitvate Moods ~
Week 4 in my interpretive series on “How to be an Artist” by Sark
It’s spring and for those of us gardeners it’s the most intense part of the season.  We have to prepare the dirt for planting.  This involves clearing the old dead stuff from last year, amending the soil so plants have the nutrients they need, and tilling to soften the soil so roots have room to grow.
Last year my husband helped me build raised beds for the veggies.  The reasons for this were twofold.  First, to help optimize the conditions for growing healthy veggies, and two to help me take care of them more easily.  I have a pretty busy schedule these days with running my jewelry business, a band, and a household.  But I did not want the garden to suffer.  It is too important to me.  
My Uncle Johnny had the most amazing vegetable garden which he tended for 70 years.  Every year the local newspaper would write an article about him and his remarkable garden. Through those years he figured out the best way to cultivate his garden for the most abundant and glorious crop which he always shared with neighbors, friends and family.  You see, it wasn’t just about what he needed.  Although he got so much joy from nurturing those little seedlings to a full harvestable plant, canning and preserving enough for himself for the year ahead, but he also made sure there was enough to give away.  I think he liked that part most of all because he grew up in an era where that’s what you did.  
I think about my Uncle everyday as I walk out to my garden.  His vision and passion and how hard he worked everyday.  My garden as his was is the culmination of personal history and heritage.  It is a reflection of everything else I do.  It’s indicative of the way I have tried to live my life. 

So every year as I do with the garden I clear away the old dead stuff that impedes my growth and put it in the compost pile so that it is transformed into rich life nourishing organic food.  I amend any negative thoughts and attitude with fresh and more effective positive energy.  I make sure that I remember to Stay Loose and Laugh a lot to ensure that I won’t get bogged down with life’s challenges so I have the healthiest outlook, room for my dreams to grow, and the ability to sing in the sunlight and dance in the moonlight.   
As with the raised beds this year it is my intention to keep improving on the way I cultivate my own happiness.  In doing this I know that I will always have enough love and compassion to not only sustain myself but also enough for family, friends, and neighbors.  
Thanks Uncle Johnny.  I miss you.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opportunity is missed by most people 

because it is dressed in overalls 

and looks like work

~ Thomas Edison ~

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cinnabar: Its Brutal History and Modern Transformation by ShadowDog Designs

Ever wonder about the history or discovery of certain precious or semi-precious stones that jewelry designers use.  There are some wonderful blogs out there by these artisans.  Here's one of them.  She goes into great detail and shares other artists designs in her articles.

Don't forget to browse through her other categories too.  She does a terrific job.

Here's my cinnabar necklace.

Carved Cinnabar necklace with white bamboo coral and mottled glass

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guitar strings and what I learned from them

I have attempted in the past to do something with all the used guitar strings that both my husband and I have been saving for several years.  Trying to find a way to recycle them into jewelry.  I dabbled in trying all kinds of bending and wrapping and twisting and crimping.  Trying to find my voice in the design.

Well, I finally found some inspiration.  Not exactly sure where it came from but I’m not going to complain.  I took out a coiled up guitar string and just stared at it for the longest time.  My thoughts went in 
and out of my bead cabinet trying to imagine what would work the best.  I put this bead on with that spacer, took them off, tried another combination, yuck!!!  That’s the way it happens most of the time and yes, yuck is a perfectly suitable reaction.  Then, eureka!!!!!!  A flash came to my brain, the right side cause the left was still asleep.  Why not just treat it as you would using regular wire wrapping techniques.  Ok.  So I pull out my wire wrapping instruction book, ponder this and that.  Hmmmm.... OK, maybe this will work.  

The one thing I do remember one of the artisans on Artfire saying about wire work, you can’t force it, the wire has a mind of its own sometimes, just follow where it takes you.  Ahem.... Well guitar strings are from outer space because they definitely will walk their own walk and bend however they want with no regard for what you might have had in mind.  So I let it flow, eased my grip and went along for the ride.  
Now, any kind of string vibrates to a certain frequency and each one makes a unique and beautiful sound.   Once that string is plucked that sound moves out into the universe and just keeps on going and going. These have echoes of both my husbands and my personal history.  I actually got a little choked up thinking about it.  I asked myself why it took me so long to tackle this project again.  Was I  holding onto those memories in those old guitar strings?  Is it even possible to hold a vibration?  No.  And those strings I believe are still alive with all the songs we ever played with them.  
Might sound corny but I don’t care.  All I know is that I put away my expectations of what I thought those darn strings should do and allowed the reverberation to create a unique and soulful piece of jewelry.  It works for me and it’s pretty cool that I am able to share an important part of our lives with all you folks out there in an unexpected, creative and somewhat uncommon way.  

So, it's time to get back at it so that I can make more cool guitar string jewelry for your listening enjoyment.

Thanks for visiting my blog
Blessings to you All
(aka Martie)