April 27, 2012

Moving after 23 Years

Time has come for us to downsize from our beautiful quiet 160 acre farm. This has been an emotional ride over the past couple months as we looked at properties trying to come to a decision. We bought this raw quarter 23 years ago and everything on it was built by our own hands. I designed our home from which on a nice day we can see the Rocky Mountains.  This is taken in the dead of winter in 2008 with sun shining on the Mtns.

"Big rock" was moved from our far field by picker truck and it has been a conversation piece.  Certainly everyone notices it.  While running a business my husband built a big shop and we experienced farming first hand: cows giving birth to baby calves, sows having litters of piglets, raising baby chicks until they laid eggs. 

Gordon wanted to prove himself a true farmer so bought tractors and equipment to till and disc the field to plant it to hay. Now committed and ever the optimist he had to follow through and get a haybine, rake and a baler and now it was proof... He was a farmer. This past year health problems have been warning that maybe it is time to slow down!  Here they are lined up for our farm sale last Saturday Apr. 21st.

Picture on sale day shows a range of emotions on my husband's face as he (we) sell  almost everything including those beautiful willow chairs in the foreground.  Don't worry, I have a couple more that I kept!! 

We have deer, moose, coyotes, geese, sand hill cranes, and other wildlife at our doorstep.

When we looked at properties we each had differing criteria that we wanted. Gordon wanted a shop to do whatever men do in their shops....I still haven't figured that out. I wanted a nice beading studio with lots of light and surrounded by gardens of wildflowers and fresh  water ponds....Oh....Ok guess it doesn't have to have ALL that.

In the next month I will tell which property we chose and more about the moving process set for May 30th.  Keep in touch and please leave comments.  I love to hear from you.

April 20, 2012

Wrapped Stacked and Layered Bracelet Challenge

I want to thank Tracy Statler who so enthusiastically came up with this challenge idea.  Her many hours of hard work and effort have made this most exciting for me and I'm sure many others.  Bracelets are my favorite thing to make and I endorse the idea of wearing as many stacked and layered on your arm as is humanly possible.  Being a jewelry addict, I could not pick one color to submit so did three layouts.

For the brown grouping, I made all bracelets except the silver one and the watch in the center.  From the right...techniques used are a long beaded rope wrapped several times with tassel, leather wrap with gemstones and glass, triple strung hematite, various beads knotted on heavy cord.  This is an earthy and natural look that appeals to me.
In the red grouping I made all except the silver bracelet with red garnets in the middle.  For techniques from the right..I used flat net stitch bead work, pearls and carnelian chips hung on silver chain, leather wrap with gemstones, spiny oyster single strand, brass chain with czech glass and lampwork beads and a tile bead cluster.  Last but not least, sari silk wrapped over heavy wire and wrapped again with fine wire and tiny seed beads and a bead cluster dangle. For the green grouping I made all of the bracelets.  From the right, I used peyote stitch to make the green bracelet.  I also made the green/blue lampwork bead. Chocolate pearls and shell beads hang on silver chain, leather wrapped with jade, bead work with tiny gemstones, more leather wraps, turquoise single strand, sari silk wrapped over heavy wire and wrapped again with fine wire and a bead dangle cluster.  Had to do green - my favorite color.

This has been a whole lot of fun and I can't wait to see what everyone else has made.  I know I will have lots of new ideas to think about.  Thanks to all the talented people in this group and again to Tracy.  You did a great job!  Please leave comments - I'd love to hear from you all.

New Ceramic Beads and Silk Ribbons - oh my!

I received the most wonderful package of beads, pendants and silk goodies from Marsha Neal Studio a wonderful ceramic clay artist.  Her colors are the most beautiful deep true colors I have seen in clay.  My picture does not do her work justice.... really.  My favorites are the two small butterflies which are so delicate and the Hibiscus flower.  Honestly I had a hard time deciding what to order as every item is hard to resist.  I asked her to send a collection of hand painted silks.  These are exquisite.  Her color choices were bang on so now it's up to me to create something smashing.

I have been making bracelets for quite some time and tomorrow is the big reveal for the Wrapped, Stacked and Layered Challenge.  I am quite excited to see what all the participants have made.  I know I will be up against some very talented and experienced ladies in this group.  Can't wait to see!

April 19, 2012

Moose on the loose

 I looked out my window a couple nights ago and this moose was munching away on my rear hedge just outside my fence.  We live in the country so a fence means nothing to a moose.  I opened my front door one night to let my dog out and he/she was standing so close I could reach out and touch it......except I wouldn't because I don't trust moose or any wild animal for that matter.  I respect wildlife and allow them their space.  Better that way.

  I believe this is a yearling whose mother has kicked it out on it's own and she has gone off to have a new baby.  The mother has lived around our place for several years and even showed up with twins a time or two.  We often found her sleeping in our yard in the winter with her young ones.

We are packing and in the process of moving at the moment and I will miss those moments when you look out the window and see something like this.  I will treasure these pictures forever and hope this moose has a long happy life continuing to prune the next people's shrubs.  As far as he or she is concerned that is survival and I say....go for it!

April 14, 2012

It is a busy time

Time seems to fly and my blog falls behind once again.  It was a busy Easter spending time with our kids and grand kids in Edmonton doing an easter egg hunt and staying at West Edmonton Mall Fantasyland Hotel.  Such fun watching them and seeing life through the eyes of a child.

I am so excited to be in my first challenge ever.  It is hosted by Tracy Statler Designs and I cannot wait for the big reveal one week from today April 21, 2012.  I love making bracelets - they are my all time favorite thing to make so I am trying to come up with some exciting wrapped, layered and stacked colored bracelets that I have made myself.  Apparently this is the new look for the year - the more you layer on your wrist and arm the better!  That is right up my alley as I love color and I love wrapping and beading.  So be sure to come back next week and check out the reveal to see what everyone has come up with.  OK?

April 01, 2012

Mermaid's Tears Beadwork Necklace

 I had beads laid out for a few days trying to get inspired and saw the big pearl at the bottom right and I thought it looked exactly like a tear drop.  I had mostly greens and blues picked out so the name Mermaid's Tears kind of clicked.  I worked around the blue luminescence of the pearl and used a netting stitch in various widths.  I learned it recently and although I find peyote much easier and faster, I want to try other techniques.  This tested my patience in places but I am happy I stuck with it. 

 As well as hundreds of seed beads in various greens and blues I used  a lampwork borosilicate lampwork bead centered at the bottom  with lovely swirls of teal blues and greens.  I used jade, varasite, labradorite, emerald, apatite, turquoise, blue goldstone, picasso glass, czech glass, pearls, glass and gemstones that I forget the names of.  Really it is like mixing soup so when I left Alberta I went to my bead room and started taking beads out of drawers that I thought would look nice together and put them into containers.  By the way, that is how I cook too.  I rarely use a cookbook.

I have way too many beads for this project but there will be another day and another project and I love all the colors together.  It seems to me when I was a kid there was a rhyme:  Blue and Green should never be seen..... I don't agree.  For me it is a perfect match.  I tried to emulate the ocean in this necklace which is a hard thing to do because it is not one color.  It is not blue and it is not green.  Sometimes it is steel grey or aqua or muddy brown so I have tried to put most of those colors in my necklace.  

But back to that tear drop shaped pearl.  It played a trick on me today when I was taking pictures.  When I found it on my desk that day, I could swear it was shaped like a tear drop.  When I look at these pictures now, all I see is a shape like a fish...... more like Nemo.  Oh well, sometimes the ocean does that to you.  Let me know what you see.