A Short Memory Pays Off

 The best part about writing a bead making column is that once I mail off my pieces, I forget they exist. Then, when the magazine mails them back after photography, and I open the box, it's like getting presents! 

"Oh yeah! I forgot I made that!!!!"

Today, I got two presents in the mail. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Vitamin C!

Color of the Year 2014

Today is the day we have all been waiting for. Hahahhahaha! Well some of us.  The Pantone Color of the Year was just announced! Introducing Radiant Orchid!

Sometimes I see it coming a mile away and sometimes it takes me by surprise. This is a surprise year.

If you are interested, go watch this video. The Executive Director of Pantone tells us all about the color. Mid way through the video, she says that purple is a color that makes us feel creative. Why do I not wear purple more often????

Get some purple and wear it to enhance Vitamin C!

Wire and Button Bangle

New color pack of buttons from Blumenthal Lansing. Sort of Southwest colors. I combined them with three colors of wire: gold, copper, brown. And added some brass heart charms. Fun to make. Lots of movement.

A little Vitamin C…..

Perfect Place for a House

I love how other people's brains work. I would probably never look at a three foot wide alley and say, "This is the perfect place for a house!"

Definitely some Vitamin C happening there!

 A couple weeks ago, I took a mini vacation and put myself in a hotel room on the Detroit River. My plan was to do some painting. Without distraction.

The view and the weather were fabulous (Belle Isle was out my window, freighters cruised by, the sunrise was awesome), the hotel was a little strange. It was in a very old building that used to be drug labs for Parke Davis. The big problem was the room was a cave. A really dark cave, that made it hard to paint.

I signed up for a self paced painting class online. I chose this artist/teacher because I really like her work, and I didn't really care that it wasn't deep, I just wanted to paint. The teacher was darling, but she taught almost completely without words. She taped herself doing a painting from beginning to end, added background music, and sped it up for us to watch.

In a way, it was good, but I wanted her to tell me why she chose some materials and a little bit about what she was doing.  

So, above you see step 1, scrubbing some black on my canvas.

 Step 2 was scribbling over the black with water soluble crayons. I was creating a background.

 Third layer...a thin coat of paint. You can see the depth of the black underneath, but I totally lost all of the crayon doodles. I wonder if it was because I used a different kind of paint or what!?! She did not explain!

 Some lighter paint over the dark colors adding more depth.

When that was dry, I drew my basic design in with a white water soluble crayon. Great idea. Usually, if I do this step, I use pencil. But the crayon can be wiped off if I choose. I don't have to worry about covering up lines, the crayon is absorbed into the paint.

When I started this, I thought I would do a riverscape with my hotel in it. Then I was not sure I wanted to keep a memory of that weird hotel for posterity. I decided on a painting of my 10 year plan for retirement. You can see my small cottage by a lake and a tree, my cool wind turbine, and my garden.

The shapes base coated.

Starting to add some details.

Details and outlining. Click the pic to see closer.

I am thinking about putting this in my tiny work cubicle as inspiration.

Maybe some day, you will come visit me in my small cottage by a lake and a tree and we will paint, sing some oldies, and tell stories about the good old days!

Meanwhile, let's use our Vitamin C!

Left or Right?

Right before I watched this, I took a quickie test to determine if I am right brained or left brained.  Not sure if a facebook test concludes anything really, but it affirmed what I know about myself.

Immediately following that was this video. It is pretty awesome. I watched a couple times to figure out how it was constructed and noted how many details had to come together to make it work. Then I read the comments and laughed right out loud. There is every conceivable reaction to this video, and then some. Some of those people need a nap.

So, your thoughts? Was a right brain or a left brain responsible for this?

Someone took his Vitamin C!!!

Slinky Pencil Holder

 This is the easiest project ever. You might even have thought about it or made one already. But, I like it so much, I am sharing it. For me, what makes it, is the new color Slinky.

This is how you make it: cut a couple short pieces of thin wire. Wrap them around both ends of the Slinky, holding it in a circle.

The end.

Slinkys come in colors, junior size, giant size, plastic, and light up. Oh yeah, maybe I need a light up pencil holder.

What else can you make with a Slinky?
Use your Vitamin C!

Singing Flowers

I had some fun this afternoon making some musical paper flowers for Wonder Woman's birthday. She likes a quiet, understated birthday, and I thought these might fit the bill. She loves music!

 I used:

  • off white card stock
  • an old hymnal
  • a round, scalloped paper punch
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • small shank buttons
  • craft wire (mine is green, but use what you have)

 First, I sat and punched a pile of round shapes. For each flower, I made 2 off white cardstock, and 7 hymnal punch outs.

Leave the cardstock punch outs flat. Fold the paper circles in half and then as you see above.

 Put a pea sized dot of glue in the center of a cardstock circle. Place 4 folded papers on it, points in the center. Place another dot of glue in the center. Place three folded pieces as a second layer, points to the center. Glue a button in the center.

 Cut a length of wire, glue it to the back of the flower. Glue a second cardstock circle to cover it. Make as many flowers as you wish, on different length wires.

I filled a jar with beans and tucked the flower stems down in. Use any vase. If you have one with a smaller neck, it won't need beans. 

Take your Vitamin C!

A legacy?

Are you at the point in your life yet, where you have begun to think about what kind of legacy you will leave behind? I think about it sometimes. I don't have children, and that is the legacy that most people leave. I don't have a pile of money, so I can't leave behind the International Divine Design foundation.

Two things happened this week that made me think about it. My neighbor died. She was very old, with a bad heart. She still lived alone. She had no family, her only daughter died some years ago. It was a weird feeling watching another neighbor haul all of her belongings out onto the driveway and sell them in a yard sale.

It made me think about all of the stuff I like to surround me, to save in case I need it, to make my life easier. Is there really a point to having so much stuff?

And today, I was surfing and read this obituary. It is impressive to me, and I realized that what people think of me now, is how I will be remembered. Am I good with that? 

It sure gives me food for thought, not seasoned with Vitamin C.......

Pink Necklace Re-Design

This necklace was destined to be re-made. It is something I do. I highly recommend it. Sometimes I don't like what I did. Sometimes I get tired of a piece. Sometimes I don't really like some of the beads in the piece as much as I thought I would. This necklace won the trifecta.  All of the above.

I remember making it, it has been quite a few years. I was sitting in my friend Joann's kitchen. The necklace got worn once and it has been hanging on a hook since then. Look how tarnished the silver is. 

So, it got a re-do today. I cut it all apart and put away the beads I didn't like anymore.

The bali silver needed a clean up, and I could not find s sunshine cloth. So, I took them to the bathroom sink and rubbed them down with toothpaste. There is just enough abrasive in toothpaste to remove the tarnish. Just put some in your hand and rub. And they smell minty fresh!

 Here is the re-design. It is a little longer, a length that I wear better than a choker length.  I kept the asymmetry without the busyness.  

All of the discs give it a slight Jetson-ish feel.  I think I will wear the re-designed version. And if not, I will take it apart and try it again.

Just takes a little Vitamin C.

Seeing this ad for the first time yesterday, made me laugh out loud. The designers who work for me often hear that kind of description from me.  

"It should be not a light enough teal-ish color so it looks aqua or girlie, and not deep enough to feel like you are in the woods, something kind of in between, a little bolder than that color that is trendy right now.

Weirdly, that makes sense to them.

Guessing the writer of these TV Commercials (there are a bunch of these on You Tube), spent a day in the design department, and came up with these "design-speak" commercials. That's where the magic happens, hahahaaha!

Use your verbal Vitamin C!

Heavens to Betsey

 I had to be at the mall today. It's no secret that I would rather be most anyplace than the mall. Especially on a Saturday. So, to improve my attitude, I stopped to see what Betsey is up to. I have followed Betsey's design career since high school. She started as a clothing designer, and now designs accessories too.

Maybe I am drawn to Betsey's work because she and I have something in common.  We both performed in many dance recitals while growing up. We both have a soft spot for costume. In fact, I have always wondered if I should have been a costume designer for Country Western singers.

So, while I am not going to wear a googly eyed pink lobster, I do like keeping up with Betsey now and then.


Her stuff is definitely not for everyone. But it's fun to check it out.

One more thing about Betsey...she does a cartwheel on the runway at the end of every one of her fashion shows. She is 71 years old!

Tap into some Betsey kind of creativity this week!

My Ebenezer is not about Scrooge

I am currently working through a bible study about Gideon. There are all kinds of gems in it that I want to remember. The way I remember is to write or draw or paint something about it. I am a kinesthetic learner. That means I learn and retain best if a physical activity is connected to the learning process.

When you create something, a memorial if you will, to help you remember what God has done for you, it is called an Eben-Ezer. Eben-Ezer in the original Hebrew, means "rock of help."

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 
I Samuel 7:12 NASB

That rock and others used for the same purpose by Old Testament characters, was a reminder. 

When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan into the promised land, God stopped the water flow so they could walk across the river bed.  From that river bed, they collected 12 stones. They carried them out and placed them where they stopped for the day.

Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;  that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Joshua 4: 20-24

When God's people walked by it, they remembered. When their children asked what the big deal was about a rock, they could use it as a teaching opportunity.

I think Samuel must have been a visual person, like me, and having something he could see jolted his memory. It works like that for me too and so I make some sort of Ebenezer when I want to remember or keep it fresh.

Plus, it is fun to doodle and color.

These are two of my latest journal pages. I did them with watercolor pencils and Sharpies. It takes less room than stacking up rocks, and it works for me!

Use Your Vitamin C!

Layering Glass on Beads

 New beads for my next column...

Made a bracelet using them. You can see them in the December issue of Bead Design Studio. With instructions!

Had to brush off my Vitamin C a little....

Introducing the 10 Year Plan

Three weeks ago after a kind of toxic confrontation from a co-worker (I did not bite because I refuse to be on the Jerry Springer Show), I decided to make a 10 year plan. For retirement. I do not have confidence that I will have enough money in 10 years to be able to retire...because of all of the same reasons all of us are worried about it.

I totally believe that I will still need to work past retirement age. I will have had my fill of corporate America in 10 years...not that anyone will want a 65 year old woman working for them...and I really do not want to be the greeter at Wal-Mart. Do you need a cart today? So, I need a plan. I do not mind working, but I will need something I can do at home, setting my own schedule.

Following is my initial 10 year plan. 

  • when I am ready to retire, I am going to sell this house and buy a small cottage by a lake and a tree, and make it stinking cottagey cute. It is going to have screen doors that will swing shut and a fireplace for the winter, and I am going to track sand inside and work whatever hours I want, and say no to all toxic people.
  • I am going to plant a vegetable garden.
  • I am going to have a sleek little wind turbine for electricity.
  • I am going to build patio furniture out of palettes, or whatever crazy thing people are doing on Pinterest in 2023.
  • And I am going to support myself doing design work and writing, and maybe selling some jewelry at the local tourist boutique. The thought of sitting and working by a sunny window (or the fireplace) in my lake cottage makes me very happy. I think about it every day now.
  • I will drive my stinking cute canned ham trailer, with my Jeep, down to see The Human Pin Ball in the winters.
  • And I am going to praise Jesus for taking care of me and blessing me for a life of working my heinie off

That is actually more like the 10th year plan, isn't it? Now I need plans to work on for the first nine years that will get me to that place.  Stay tuned.......

Anyone else planning for retirement? Or in it already? Do you have anything to share?

Going to need my Vitamin C for the 10 year plan!

Update on Bleach Doodles

Consistently, one of my most popular posts is Bleach Doodles.  In that post I said that if you leave the bleach on the shirt until it is dry, the lines will be nice and white.

Now, many washings later, I find that the places I left the bleach on to dry, the bleach has eaten through the fabric.

Holes, yes, but, doesn't this have possibilities? You could do delicate cut out designs. It warrants trying.  

Use your Vitamin C!

Mailbox Refurb

Oh how I wish I had taken a before picture of this mailbox.

Some years ago, my brother in law volunteered to put up my new mailbox. We discussed how to attach it to the post and cement the post into the ground. And I left on a business trip. When I got home, he had nailed it to the side of the porch railing. Yeah. Classy.

Worse, I left it there until it was falling off, all bent out of shape. and rusting. 

Deciding to finally fix it, I pulled it off, straightened out the wonk, sanded off the rust, and sprayed it with with a primer. After that I sprayed it green. I used a big Spouncer (flat round sponge on a stick) and printed white dots all over it. 

I had considered buying a new mailbox, but I really didn't have to. It looks great, for only the cost of a can of green paint, since I had all of the rest of the stuff I needed.

Use your Vitamin C!

Surprise Blessings

The city is two years into the project to redo my street. Last summer, the north end got a facelift, and this summer it has been our turn down here on the south end. The plan gives us new sewers, curbs, and street.  I admit I was not looking forward to this, afraid of the mess, noise and dirt.

Turns out, it was not only painless, but there was a surprise blessing I had not thought about. Traffic has not been able to drive down the street for two months. It has been delightfully quiet, and I am now wishing for them to take a little longer to finish up. There has been a bit of noise, not much...and dirt has filtered in the windows all summer, and this has been the view out my side window the whole time, but sleeping at night without the crazy high school kids squealing tires and blaring music has been like a vacation.

Loving my Vitamin Ahhhhhhhh!

Prayer Flags

Prayer flags have been kind of on my mind for awhile, so when I facilitated a summer Bible study at my house, I thought it would be a good addition.

I cut out fabric and batting triangles with my pinking shears and stitched them together with ribbon loops.They are two sided, so I can have two sets of prayer flags if I turn them around.

When my classmates arrived, the flags were hanging in the living room where we would have class. Anybody who wanted to write a prayer, did that on a white fabric triangle and pinned it to the line of flags.

We prayed scripture and thoughts that were meaningful from our study. We even had a prayer written from a verse of the song Swing Low Sweet Chariot. I never really looked at the words to that song. Some of them had great meaning to us.

Everyone will get to take home their prayer flags. If you are interested in the history of prayer flags or would like to see other kinds of flags people make, try this website. You can also search facebook for prayer flags and you will find some pages.

Use your Vitamin C and your favorite technique!

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