Monday, January 27, 2014

New adventures & journeys

I am not sure how often I'll post in the next couple of weeks, as we prepare for the trip of our lives! Hubby is taking the team that's training on the International trap on a training camp in Europe, more precisely Spain, on the range that has hosted one of the World Championships last year, and it will host another one this fall.

We haven't been in Europe since we left (16 1/2 years ago) so it will make for an interesting trip - especially since I'll be in charge with the well-being of the team. Where 'well-being' is a loosely defined term and can mean many things, except one: peace and quiet :)

Far for complaining, I am excited and trying to juggle all these balls in the air right now - please wish me luck!

As soon as we'll figure out the logistics of the Internet in Spain I will check in and for sure I'll have lots of pictures and stories for when we come back.

Wishing you a wonderful end of January, beginning of February - and hoping for no more snow when we return (wishful thinking, I know).

Hold on to Hope! :: All Pretty Things

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Creative Continuum of Seven Artists - Reveal #1 ~ featuring Monique Urquhart

Hello and Welcome to our very first CC7A reveal. If you're new to the CC7A blog hops, you can read about how we became in one of my previous posts: Introducing the CC7A.

January was Monique's turn and her choice of a theme is National Gallery of Canada.

This is what came in the mail early December from Monique:

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart :: All Pretty Things

A lovely satin pouch hiding a treasure:
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: polymer clay, wood beads, crystal and gemstone :: All Pretty Things

Not one, but 2 of Monique's own polymer clay beauties - along with beautiful wood beads to match the theme of the first heart, and gemstones and glass to match that incredibly intricate mosaic. Can you imagine she cut all those small little pieces?! I wouldn't be that patient, that's for sure!
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: polymer clay :: All Pretty Things
 I've seen Monique's work only in pictures - and I knew her attention to detail is absolutely incredible, look at both the face and back of this lovely heart!
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: polymer clay :: All Pretty Things

A closer view of the mosaic heart:
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: polymer clay, wood beads, crystal and gemstone :: All Pretty Things

At the top of my special Christmas tree you can see the poinsettia bloom, also Monique's work. Therese will also find (if she looks hard) her beaded ornament (along with the lovely pink-hatted snowman :) )

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: My special Christmas Tree :: All Pretty Things

I was drew to the wooden beads and the wood-like heart immediately... and I put them together on the mat... looking for ideas.
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: polymer clay, wood beads :: All Pretty Things

I hope it's no surprise to no-one that I picked up the wire :) After wrapping all the individual pieces, I was still looking for how to wrap the large ring and this is what it became:

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: In the Woods: ooak necklace, polymer clay, wood beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: In the Woods: ooak necklace, polymer clay, wood beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

And all together - I baptized it "In the Woods" :)
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: In the Woods: ooak necklace, polymer clay, wood beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things
I used the 2 long pieces for earrings (which, for reasons unknown to humanity, are still waiting for ear-wires :) )

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: In the Woods: ooak earrings, wood beads, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

The mosaic heart group gave me a bit of a challenge. I am not very comfortable with the little leaves, I only used them twice before, but grouped, and I didn't want to group them now. What to do, what to do?

I picked up the wire and started to try different ideas - until I settled on this:

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: ooak necklace, polymer clay, gemstone, crystals, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Far from perfect, but I like it (one of the previous versions was unacceptable :) ). I have no leather left to make the neck-piece part, and I was thinking maybe I'll get some kumihimo cord in red, brown, and black and bride it together that way... I'm still looking for a name - the mosaic sends me to Roman times (although the cats will be more of Egyptian times); maybe I'll call it 'Ancient times'  :)
The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - featuring Monique Urquhart: ooak bracelet, polymer clay, gemstone, crystals, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things
I have one more piece left - I originally meant it as an asymmetrical cross at the top of the wire V of the heart... but it wasn't draping properly. I took it off and curved it, I will try a bracelet instead. And since I'll get cord for the neckpiece, I am thinking to get some extra for a 2nd strand on the bracelet.

A side note: while the picture is not very good (when it'll be finished I'll be able to put it on props and take a better one), the on the top left corner is inspired from Cindy Wimmer's "The Missing Link" book. If you work with wire, that's a 'Bible-like' book!

This is my story - helped by Monique's beauties! I've been wearing the 'wood' necklace for a while now, in fact I wore it for the first day of school, as a quiet balance and a reminder that nature is somewhere in there, under all this snow :)

Thank you for stopping by and please check below to see what my lovely friends have created with Monique's package:

Alicia Marinache <- you are here

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Focus on Life: January ~Minimalist: The Word(s)

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting another year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and for 2014 Sally is choosing a monthly theme, with a different prompt each week.

January's theme is 'Minimalist' and this week's theme is 'The Word(s)':

There are so many words, a simple grouping of letters that bombard us everyday, that impact our everyday life. They make us think, effect our purchasing of items and influence how we view ourselves. This week we will focus on words. What word speaks to you, makes you laugh, makes you feel good about your being and who you are in that moment. Is there a word that stands out, you find interesting, you think is fun to say.

I have already chose my word for 2014, and it is explained a bit in a previous post: Attain.

Today is a splendid winter day, one I would enjoy even more if I hadn't had quite enough of winter already (since 2 weeks before Christmas the temperatures never rose above freezing point and everything is white, white, white, as it snows at least once every 2 weeks... ). Since complaining about the weather won't help me too much (it won't help me at all, if we are honest), I made a fire and I was ready to enjoy it when the sun suddenly came out. Time for a picture! or two :)

Focus on Life: The word of 2014: attain ~ achieve, accomplish, reach, gain :: All Pretty Things

Here we have my word, in a very minimalist context - from the Webster's thesaurus, a trio of books I bought when we arrived to Canada (it is one of the first books, if not *the first* :) ).

Focus on Life: The word of 2014: attain ~ achieve, accomplish, reach, gain + smiley mug :: All Pretty Things

And here we have my word smiling at us - from my very happy mug, one I put on the table every now and then, it always makes me smile :)

Thanks for stopping by, stay warm and safe - and if you're inside please go see what other words are happily jumping at you!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bead Chat Magazine - January, 2014 edition

The January edition of Bead Chat Magazine, the digital magazine of Artisan Whimsy, is now available!

On pages 44-45 and 95-97 you'll find William's and my articles (William is helping me in researching the stones each month!): Did You Know? on Blue Lace Agate (one of my favourite gemstones, due to its gorgeous colour) and on Lapislazuli (another favourite, due to its bold blue).

We all matter

I haven't disappeared (or not completely) - just trying to find out that fine balance between a new adventure (school), family, business, and preparing for another adventure at the end of the month.

Speaking of balance... hubby sent me this amazing video - it's a tad long... but watch it closely for the first 2 minutes, then you can jump towards the end... for a reminder that no matter how small we are (or we think we are!) we are all very important in the mesh of things we call Universe.

Quite incredible, eh?

Now go and be a feather to your own Universe :)
And on a not-so-good day remember: we are all feathers and we are all so incredibly important!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Time To Stitch #4 - it's here!

Welcome to the 4th edition of the 'A Time To Stitch' adventures hosted by Therese and Christine.

While not a bead weaver, I love participating in this specific challenge because it forces me to learn a new stitch (or two) every time... I might not keep at it, but I love learning new things (don't start me on learning right now, I am in my 2nd week of back-to-school and I love every moment :) ), I found bead weaving very relaxing, and I sometimes get to incorporate some of the knowledge I gather in bead weaving into other mediums. Win-win-win situation :)

The stitches for this 4th round where netting, spiral rope, chevron and - I forgot the 4th one, sorry, I am 100% sure you'll find at least one of the participants who used it :)

From all these stitches I was most interested in the spiral rope. I started it for another challenge:

It is going in the right direction and I still love it very, very much... however, to my complete dismay our LBS had no beading needles in stock and I had only one left, must be size 20, because nothing goes through its ears, definitely not my thread! After spending about an hour (if not more) on that minuscule piece I decided I cannot afford the time, so I put it aside until (1) my LBS stocks up on larger beading needles or (2) I get to another store that sells them!

With that I had to go back to the net. It started, again, well:

A time to stitch #4 ~ netting :: All Pretty Things

Almost - as you can see the top border is quite flat compared to the bottom one. Which makes for an interesting fan-effect: it would be perfect for a beaded collar. There are 2 issues with that idea: (1) I really wanted it to be a bracelet, so I started it on elastic thread, to make it a cuff with no closures and (2) it's illustrated by the next picture:

A time to stitch #4 ~ netting :: All Pretty Things
I ran out of the main colour!! Which happened the next day *after* I went to the LBS for needles... so it'll have to wait until I get there again (the seed beads are from the local store, luckily for me).

Now what? I can't possibly go through a challenge with not one, but two unfinished pieces!

Back to the attic, rummaged through my seed beads box for something that holds enough pieces from *one* colour. Found it, back in the living room - started it once... nope, one of the borders still not good... undo... watch the video from beadaholique... try again... nope, still not good (BTW - the video really doesn't show how to turn on the *other* side, only talks about the first side!)... undo... take a piece of paper and draw dots of what I want. Now we're talking!!

Needless to say, once I had my diagram (can you believe I actually drew a diagram?! dedication, my friends, dedication! LOL) it went quite well:

A time to stitch #4 ~ netting :: All Pretty Things

Originally the cuff had 3 full 'diamonds' on the height - but it looked 'cheap'... so I continued working on the horizontal this time (luckily for me the pattern allows it). I added one more row, still had some beads left, added a second row... and 4 links before the end... no more beads. I just gathered everything that looked similar and while you can see the difference (the gold is more whitish, and the brown is more reddish), I can live with it.
A time to stitch #4 ~ netting :: All Pretty Things

I also made one mistake on one of these 4 links and added one extra bead... I see it, but I can, again, live with it :)

A time to stitch #4 ~ netting :: All Pretty Things

If I ever get back to this stitch I would love to make real beaded cuffs for a blouse - it will have to be a special one :) but the effect will be majestic.

Until then - I'll wear my special cuff :)

Thank you, again, our lovely hostesses, Therese and Christine!

Please make sure you visit the rest of the participants and be prepared to be amazed - there are some true bead weaving wizards among us :)

Hosted by Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller

1.  Amy Severino
2.  Janet Bocciardi
3.  Cynthia Machata
4.  Alicia Marinache <- you're here
5.  Paula Kramer
6.  Kim Hora
7.  Dee Alcalde
8.  Dagi (Kokopelli)
9   Maryanne Gross
10. LizE
11. Sally Russick
12. Becky Pancake
13. Jasvanti Patel
14. Karin Slaton
15. Alenka
16. Sarah Sequins
17. Tanya Goodwin
18. Debbie Rasmussen
19. Shirley Moore
20. Crystie Willard
21. Nelly May
22.  Ana Cravidao

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Into the forest: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Welcome to the reveal of Lisa's blog hop, Into the forest.

When I registered for this hop was still summer, so of course I promptly forgot about it... but luckily for me one of my guardian angels (Monique) mentioned she's participating in a blog hop on the 11th... which made me think 'wait a minute... am I in it?!' :) Of course I was!

After the mix-up with Lisa's packages last summer, I became more careful - I keep all the posted packages in a box, each in its own ziplock bag. At least I have only one place to check! So I grabbed my packages, spread the beads in front of me and admired them! You can see what I received in my sneak-peak post.

The challenge is supposed to be about forest: organic movement, forest through the seasons etc.

I mentioned before how well Lisa's challenges work for me - for some unknown reasons I simply connect with her choices in an instant. It happened before and it happened again: as soon as I saw them on the beading mat, one thing popped into my mind: A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oh, yes!

The majority of the beads are small, some are tiny seed beads (I believe 15), so I thought some free form bead weaving... that's how I started the spiral rope. As a technique, it works quite well - but I was missing one important tool: a good needle. I only had those cheap 2-fine-wires-wrapped-together thinggie... and the 1" rope you saw in the sneak-peak post took me about half an hour... I wouldn't have minded if it wouldn't have been excruciatingly annoying to get the bending 'needle' through the main beads.

So: it's midnight, and I realize that's not going to work. Now what? How can I use my favourite medium (wire, in case you're knew :) )?! Somehow, when it comes to thinking in wire or metal terms my brain works rapidly and very easily.

Long story short, this is what happened next:

  • I took one double-the-length heavy gauge wire and folded it in two
  • On one side I 'strung' the larger beads, leaving the fold alone, in a large 'eye' form
  • Carefully I wrapped the 2 sides upon each other, and hooked the large ceramic button at the end. 
  • On a small gauge wire I strung all the other beads, in no pattern, no rules manner. All beads have been added: seed beads, glass beads, ceramic, crystals, mother of pearl chips, glass pearls. 
  • I connected the ceramic focal with a wire bail to the wrapped base. 
  • Starting from the 'eye' part of the clasp, I wrapped the long, tiny, beaded wire onto the wrapped base.
The end result? A truly organic and one of a kind necklace: 

A Midsummer Night's Dream: organic, lush, ooak necklace with wire wrapped elements and Marla James ceramic focal :: All Pretty Things

I am ecstatic at how beautiful it looks (I know I am not supposed to praise myself, but I am actually in love with my 'baby' :) ) 

A Midsummer Night's Dream: organic, lush, ooak necklace with wire wrapped elements and Marla James ceramic focal :: All Pretty Things

Forest? check! Organic? check! Having fun? double check! 

Thank you, Lisa, for another lovely challenge. Cheers for a great start of the jewelry designing year!
Thank you, my friends, for stopping by ~ please make sure you visit everybody else to see their interpretation of 'forest'.

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Janine Lucas, Esfera Travel Blog
Jasvanti Patel, Jewelry by Jasvanti
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha's Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
Janet Bocciardi, Honey from the Bee
Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Elizabeth Engriser, Bead Contagion
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things <- you're here
Kay Mallery,TBD
Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine's Musings
Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs

Friday, January 10, 2014

Focus on Life: Week 2 ~ Silhouette

This week's prompt in the Focus of Life series is "A photograph with a subject(s) captured in a shadowy outline with little or no detail against a bright background."

Hmm... that's quite hard to accomplish, trust me. In today's world, photography and everything else tend to get too complex, too saturate, too colourful, too fast, too everything. To capture a simple pose takes patience, and a bit of luck. To make it a perfect picture - you also need skill (which I am working on, but I openly admit I don't have enough of).

This week has been an incredible cold one - and we also had a -25C crisp day. Not good for getting out of the house, but perfect for taking pictures. Which I did :)

Focus on Life ~ Silhouette: Frozen a crisp winter day :: All Pretty Things

This is one the branches that fell 2 weeks ago, during the ice-age incident we had here. It's frozen in the snow and I thought it's a good subject for the Silhouette prompt.

Focus on Life ~ Silhouette: Frozen a crisp winter day :: All Pretty Things

Same day - you can see the sun shining bright and projecting lovely silhouettes on my sheers :)

The next one is not truly a silhouette, but it is the moment that made me stand up from my desk (facing the window) and pick up the camera: the bulbs shone very bright (they were on in the middle of the day, and the sun reflected off them) and the whole scene was taken out of some fairy tale book:

Focus on Life ~ Silhouette: Frozen a crisp winter day :: All Pretty Things

I hope you've enjoyed my truly cold, but gorgeous scenery (I will take a day like that instead of today's +1 and grey, ugly sky).

Please make sure you visit everyone else's silhouettes today!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

On Happiness

I stumbled upon an article - one of those rare gems of deep beauty. It's in Romanian (my English-speaking readers can try to translate it) and I won't attempt a translation.

However, I'll attempt to describe it. At the time of writing, the author has just returned from a  pilgrimage to the Holy Land (the Christian churches in Israel). During his trip he describes 4 revelations he had while interacting with the monks and Holy Parents.

The 4 revelations are translated into 4 questions / actions, as follows:

  • Relinquish your need / wish to impress others
  • Relinquish your need to always be right
  • Leave the past alone
  • What stops us from being happy all the time? The answer: the GOSSIP we participate in and perpetuate (with all its ramifications: envy, critical view of others, judgement, frustrations, etc.)
And these, my friends, are indeed, the pillars of The Temple of Happiness. 

It is, indeed, as simple as that: be yourself, be wrong sometimes, be present, don't even talk or think about what others do / think / have / make etc. 

You can read the full article right here:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Introducing: The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists

Introducing: The Creative Continuum of Seven Artists ~ an adventure in art creating with friends :: All Pretty Things
Last year I've been part of so many lovely blog hops based on various ideas and themes, that I wanted to host one myself. I haven't come up (yet) with a good idea for the general public, however I figured out I can 'twist the arm' of a few beady-friends, right?

I invited 6 of the ladies I consider my friends (even if I haven't physically met any of them - yet!) to join me. It has been hard to keep it small, but 7 is such a magical number, and I needed to keep it small.

Thus, 'The Creative Continuum of Seven Artists" (CC7A) has been born!

What is this all about, you ask? Quite simple: we have exchanged packages of goodies, based on a theme each chose and for the next 7 months each of us will host a blog hop where we all create a piece, or two, or more from the package we received from that month's host.

A little bit about the 6 lovely ladies in the Continuum: a group bound to create magic and enjoy life!

Christine of One Kiss CreationsChristine of One Kiss Creations: I e-met Christine through Therese, during various challenges, and I also had a surprise participation in their 'She made - She made' monthly challenge, when Therese sent me the same Boro lampwork they were using. Christine is a bead weaving wiz and I love her creativity; the beauties that come from her hands are true pieces of art. She's also very fun to listen to, I always enjoy her blog post and her humour. I will be looking forward to creating with her pieces - shortly, as she's scheduled for February!

Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers

Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers: I met Cynthia through numerous challenges and blog-hops, can't recall which one was our first encounter, however I do recall thinking 'my kindred spirit!'. Over the past couple of years we found many things in common - and I am always taken by her artistry. Unlike me, she defined her style already (funny thing is Christine put a name on it!) as 'Ethnic BOHO' - and boy, she truly is the 'Ethnic BOHO' queen. Besides that, her blog post are always full with so much more than beads: she talks about history, traveling, life, tutorials, inspirations, family and moves from one subject to another with such ease.

Emma of A Polymer Penchant
Emma of A Polymer Penchant is a fellow Canadian and, as her blog name conveys, a Polymer Clay wiz. She creates intricate shapes in polymer clay, and gorgeous colours, I love her pieces. As with everybody else in this group, I met Emma during a blog hop and I fell in love with her artistry, her writing, her beautiful pictures, and her lovely daughter :)

Monique of A half-backed notion
Monique of A half-backed notion is yet another Canadian friend, from far east :) Too far - although I hope one day to visit that part of Canada and meet her too! Like Emma, her favourite medium is polymer clay and I am always in awe of her magic powers. Unless you hold her pieces (they are light, as any polymer clay piece would be) you'll never believe it is polymer. Even the texture is perfect - I own a few of her pieces now and I always wonder where she finds the time and patience to perfect the details. I connected with Monique in more than one way and lately we've been sharing so many stories, experiences, and moments, I feel I know her better than people I meet every day :)

Sally of The Studio Sublime
Sally of The Studio Sublime: if you've followed my blog in the past year you should know a lot about Sally by now, as she's the lovely host of the 'Focus on Life' challenge. I 'met' her before, and I was always intrigued at how different she views life: in a more deeper way than I was accustomed, and from different perspective than mine. This past year, through her Focus on Life challenge I learned a lot: about myself, about my surroundings, about life in general. She's a wonderful artist - and a complete one: she's not only creating beautiful jewelry in a mix of media, she also is an amazing photographer. When you read her blog you feel the passion she's putting in all her moments: being them jewelry designing, tutorial writing, or simply life.

Therese of Therese's Treasures
Therese of Therese's Treasures: I was lucky enough to be paired with Therese in an ornament challenge back in 2012... so now I am the proud owner of a few of her pieces, including an amazing beaded ornament. Therese's wizardry area has been bead weaving - recently she challenged herself with glass fusing, and I jack-potted again with a gorgeous, gorgeous glass cab (I receive tons of compliments on that piece!). I hope she'll keep at it, in addition of the wonderful beading she does (as I mentioned many times before, I am in awe of everyone who has the patience to manage those little pesky seed beads).

As you can see, we are a group as heterogeneous as we could get :) This is going to be fun, I can feel it!

This is what you'll be relegated to for the next 7 months:

Jan 26, 2014: Monique ~ National Gallery of Canada
Feb 26, 2014: Christine ~ Round and Round
Mar 26, 2014: Sally ~ Contrasting Color Palettes
Apr 26, 2014: Therese ~ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
May 26, 2014: Alicia ~ Seasons
June 26, 2014: Cynthia ~ Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
July 26, 2014: Emma (still debating on her theme :) )

Please join us on this adventure: we will publish a sneak preview about 2 weeks before the challenge itself, then we will all post on the 26th of each month with the reveal.

P.S. We've been back and forth with the name until Miss Sally proposed our name. Thank you, official Godmother Sally!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Gemstone beads for the Year of Horse

Aahh... astrology and gemstones ~ two of my favourite subjects :) My approach to astrology is to take the positive energy and run with it, and simply ignore the negative energy (or prepare, at least).

My approach to gemstone is chaotic: I like what I like and I wear what I like.

My friends from Beading Daily posted today some lucky or good-energy gemstones that work well with the Year of Horse. And guess what? They chose some of my favourite stones:
  • aquamarine
  • emerald
  • topaz
Oh, yes... I really need to get myself some emerald, that's my birthstone and soon-to-be my year anniversary stone (we just celebrated 20 years since we met!!)

From the article: In some traditions, topaz is believed to attract wealth and money -- useful for the predicted upheavals in world economies during the year of the horse. Topaz is also believed to allow one to follow their dreams and aspirations, leading to a more productive life. And in the Chinese year of the horse, it's all about taking action and seeing results!

Follow dreams, taking action, and seeing results - that's all I need this year!

I need to do something with my beautiful topaz crystals. Look at these beauties (mind you, they are very, very, very small!)
Topaz crystals :: All pretty Things

To read the entire Beading Daily article, please check here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Into the forest...

... or making good on my Word of the year choice :)

Back in the summer Lisa of A Grateful Artist set up one of her lovely blog hops: she puts together mystery packages with a theme and the participants create with the beads they receive.

Her theme for the January blog hop is 'Into the forest' and I received a treasure: luscious purple and white beads of all sorts (crystals, metal, glass, ceramic, pearls, mother-of-pearl chips) along some teeny-tiny brown seed-beads and a ceramic pendant by Marla James:

Into the forest elements: purple, white, and silver beads in various mediums (glass, ceramic, metal, glass pearls, mother of pearl) and teeny-tiny seed beads, along with a tree ceramic focal by Marla James :: All Pretty Things
Into the forest elements: purple, white, and silver beads in various mediums
(glass, ceramic, metal, glass pearls, mother of pearl)
and teeny-tiny seed beads, along with a tree ceramic focal by Marla James
Into the forest elements: purple, white, and silver beads in various mediums (glass, ceramic, metal, glass pearls, mother of pearl) and teeny-tiny seed beads, along with a tree ceramic focal by Marla James :: All Pretty Things
Into the forest elements: purple, white, and silver beads in various mediums
(glass, ceramic, metal, glass pearls, mother of pearl)
and teeny-tiny seed beads, along with a tree ceramic focal by Marla James
Luckily for me, Monique mentioned a blog hop on January 11th (yes, I usually add them in my calendar! I forgot about this one :) ) so this is what happened yesterday at midnight

Into the forest sneak-peak ~ spiral rope :: All Pretty Things
Into the forest sneak-peak ~ spiral rope

... but to see the end result you'll have to wait almost a full week, until Saturday, January 11th!

P.S. How am I making good on my choice word for 2014? Imagine that I finished the piece *today*, almost a full week before the reveal! I even took pictures and wrote the blog post too!

I'm achieving my goals and I am not procrastinating. Now to keep up with it :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Focus on Life, 2014 ~ Week 1: the Minimalist

Happy New Year!!

I have decided I can't possible live without Miss Sally's weekly prompts so here I am, on a new 52 weeks adventure :)

The format has changed a little bit - we are going to focus on one theme each month and the theme for January is 'Minimalist'. Very fitting, I would say, since my life is full of clutter of all sorts :) See, I grew up in a context of lack of everything. So when you had something and no foreseen use for it, you'd put that something in storage, for the day when you needed it. Growing up like that forms habits hard to discard... and today I still have troubles throwing things out just because I have no use for it. What if...? Maybe someone else...?

I do like simplicity, though - I always did. the very first prompt for the very first week is 'Picture a single object'. That would be easy to do, if you could decide what to capture...

After some deliberation I picked this:

Before you wonder if I am sane, let me explain - first of all, the vase is a miniature :) it is hardly larger than my thumb! I hate artificial anything, and especially artificial flowers... however, this one has a lovely story, and it was allowed to be.

I bought the vases (there are 4 of them) from the One of a Kind show, a few years back, for William. He loves all of them, and keeps them on his desk. Last year I changed the bathroom accessories with ceramic ones, in the exact colours of the vase... and they also have a small purple bloom on them :) I was admiring my renewed bathroom, very proud of myself when the young boy came in the room and quietly put the vase on the sink.

I asked him why and he said 'It looks better now!' - and you cannot argue with that, truly... the bathroom transformed from a cold cool room into a warm one just by this little touch! That's how the artificial bloom came to 'live' and liven up the bathroom :)

And we can argue it's 2 objects... but... I love my little vase, offered by my little boy, filled with a little purple bloom... maybe my word of the year should be 'rebel' :)

Anyhow - please join us all on this journey!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Word of 2014

I am not one for setting goals or New Year's resolutions - as I never actually follow them :) Bad, I know. At least I am realistic.

Last year I came across the 'word of the year' concept - first from Miss Sally's Focus on Life, then from a numerous other people in my online community.

So come last week of 2013 and I started to look for my word of 2014. I knew what meaning I am looking for: the opposite of 'procrastination'. I went from 'do' to 'go' to 'achieve' to many others... I ended up on and its twin,, trying to find a word that will portrait what I want for 2014.

And suddenly I found it:

at·tain [uh-teyn]
verb (used with object) 
1.     to reach, achieve, or accomplish; gain; obtain: to attain one's goals.
2.     to come to or arrive at, especially after some labor or tedium; reach: to attain the age of 96; to attain the mountain peak.

verb (used without object)
3.     to arrive at or succeed in reaching or obtaining something (usually followed by to or unto ): to attain to knowledge.
4.     to reach in the course of development or growth: These trees attain to remarkable height.

1300–50; Middle English atei ( g ) nen < Anglo-French, Old French ateign- (stem of ateindre ) < Vulgar Latin*attangere (for Latin attingere ), equivalent to Latin at- at- + tangere to touch

This is my word, I can feel it: not a simple opposite of a very negative word, but something more. It is a year where I am expected and I will need to reach, to achieve, to accomplish. The list is long and it will start shortly this coming Monday with my returning in the academic world, then continue towards the end of January with a very special trip... and more.

I love one more thing about it, something I didn't realized before: its origin is the Latin 'attingere' which in Romanian is 'atingere' and means 'touch'. That's what I want and need from my word: to be tangible in many ways :)

Not sure how I could capture 'attain' in a picture... but here I am:

Word of the year for 2014: attain; squirrel attaining its goal of getting my bird seeds! ~ All Pretty Things

I just hope I don't have to go upside-down to achieve my goals... but the determination of this squirrel is inspiring. They are very flexible - I can't tell you how many times it fell on its back from there... and came back for more seeds.

Word of the year for 2014: attain; squirrel attaining its goal of getting my bird seeds! ~ All Pretty Things

See how focused this one is? She's watching me carefully, but keeps chewing on the yummy seeds. Determination to achieve one's goals - that's what I need.

Word of the year for 2014: attain; my growing wheat  ~ All Pretty Things

You might ask what does the wheat has to do with my choice of word of the year?! Well... we have a tradition: on St. Andrew's day (November 30th) you plant wheat seeds and you check them at Christmas time to see how they grew... that's how you year will be.

It has been hard to find seeds that will germinate (this is another conversation for another time) and even when I get them, it's next to impossible to convince them to stay green between November 30th and December 25th. My first try grew nicely - but I wasn't happy so I planted these seeds on Christmas Eve - and this is what I got on New Year's! This is how wheat should grow, my friends - and even if it took a 2nd try, I did attain my goal :)

Do you make New Year's resolutions?! Do you choose a word or an action for the New Year?

Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!