Friday, June 29, 2012

Finally Friday

It's Finally Friday, and the inspiration this week is Sweet Tones from Design Seeds. The colors are definately sweet and they remind me of eating cotton candy at the fair. These earrings are made with cute dotted lampwork beads, which I've had for a long time now and have lost track of the artist. Also included are Czech ruby deep cut beads, two sweet little aqua lampwork spacers from Twinstar, and sterling silver.

'Cotton Candy Summer'

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to visit Shannons blog for her Finally Friday project. And I know she would be thrilled if you played along. The more, the merrier!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catching Up

Click on the photo above to see all the details.

Are you ready for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party? This year there are a record 400 participants, and three reveal dates. I'm so lucky to have been paired up with Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong Jewelry Bobbie and I have spent the last few days getting aquainted. Though our jewelry designs might be a bit different, (she does a lot of seed bead work and a bit of stringing, where I do mostly stringing and a bit of wirework) we both love beads--any and all beads. I've always been in awe of artists that can work with these seed beads, but Bobbie uses any beads she can get her hands on. Take a look at some of her gorgeous pieces.

Last week we went to the Lake of the Ozarks for a family reunion. It was hot and we packed in the activities. Our favorite was the trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park where we hiked a trail that included a natural bridge and the skeleton of a once gorgeous castle up on a cliff.

View of the castle from the trail.

Remains of the castle.

Our daughter in blue, her friend, and our nephew.

My brother in law enjoying a wonderful view from the castle courtyard

A gorgeous sunrise on the lake.

A speedy trip around the lake, and a lovely sunset.

The girls getting ready to parasail.

And when we got home this sweet package was waiting for me. I was the lucky winner of
Mary Harding's sweet Asparagas pendant. Just look at the cheery packaging!

I keep all the business cards I get because they are little works of art in themselves.

Asparagus Pendant--isn't it gorgeous?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Winner of the Art Bead Love Tour Chain Is...

I didn't even have to use a random generator thingy to pick the winner since there were so few entries--which is good since I wouldn't have a clue as to how that works. I did it the old fashioned way with names in a hat and my husband pulled out the name.

The winner of the fabulous Art Bead Love Tour Chain is.... Drumroll please....

The Lovely and Talented Lori Anderson of the fabulous Pretty Things Blog!

Thanks so much to the Love My Art Jewelry Blog for starting this amazing chain! Be sure to check Lori's blog in the coming weeks to try your luck with this traveling chain of beady goodness!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Art Jewelry Elements June Challenge

This lovely photo is our inspiration for the month of June at Art Jewelry Elements. It was taken by Jennifer Cameron on her recent trip to Florida.

As a kid, my family took a vacation every summer, and my husband and I have continue the tradition with our own family. We love picking up shells, rocks, and driftwood along the shore. Each year when summer approaches, I'm eager to plan our next trip. We travel by car so we can see the sights as we go from state to state, and by the time we are heading home, we are already planning for the next year.

The different colors here work so well together in nature, but not necessarily in a piece of jewelry. I had a difficult time finding just the right beads. Some were too pastel, some were too dark. But after several times of stringing and restringing it finally worked.

I started with an etched, patinated copper 'Athena'link from Melinda Orr. Also included is a Czech nautilus shell, red lava beads, aqua faceted glass beads, a couple pale pink lampwork beads from Jane Perla, a dark brown lampwork spacer from That Bead Girl, a little stone bead, and some little freshwater pearl dangles which helped fill the space between the beads and the etched link. The beads are set off with sterling beads and clasp.

'Pocketful of Sea Shells'

Be sure to visit the Art Jewelry Elements blog on the 18th to see what others have made.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Symphony in the Flint Hills

This past weekend we were given last-minute tickets to the 7th Annual Symphony in the Flint Hills, which was set in the last stand of Tallgrass Prairie.

'Once a vast prairie covered one-third of our continent–an endless grassland teeming with bison, deer, antelope, fowl and wildflowers of every color. Today, an untouched piece of that prairie still exists in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Each spring there is a gathering, a coming together of art, nature and the kindred souls who appreciate them both. For one evening, the meadowlark’s song is joined by a Symphony in the Flint Hills.

Before the plow tilled the surrounding lands, before train track split the endless sea of green, native grasses stood as high as a man’s chest on the tallgrass prairie. Here, where vast limestone and flint deposits made tilling impractical, the largest portion of virgin tallgrass prairie remains intact in the Kansas Flint Hills. This is where we gather.'

Taken from the website

It was a mile long walk from the parking lot to where the symphony was located. We meandered along the winding path through the beautiful Tallgrass Prairie, where a stiff breeze kept us from roasting in the sun. Along the path were local ranchers sitting tall on their horses, and sometimes posing for photos.

Just over the rolling hills we could see the very tips of a dozen or more white tents. And as we got closer it was quite a sight. Over 7,000 people gathered from 55 Kansas counties, several states, and even a few who traveled here from abroad. The tents held food, beer & wine, and information on educational topics such as prairie plants, geology of the Flint Hills, history of cowboys, and art inspired by the prairie. There was even an ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’ under one tent. And if you arrived early enough you could catch a ride in a covered wagon for a spin out on the prairie.

The symphony itself was wonderful. Most of the pieces were related to spring and summer, the vast prairie, cowboys and the like. Up in the hazy sky was a small plane, probably taking photos of the event. There were a few times the plane seemed to be in sync with the concert as it glided back and forth silently across the sky.

The riders and their horses put on a show of their own out on the prairie; some posing for photos, letting the little ones pet the horse, or sending the horse on a gallop. As the concert ended the ranchers gathered up all the cattle and herded them to water. It was quite a sight to see, and the crowd went wild with applause and snapping photo after photo.

The Big Guy up above put on a show of his own, after all he is a Master Artist. Behind the orchestra the rolling hills made a wonderful backdrop. And just as the concert was about to end, the bright orange sun settled down on the horizon like a big ball of fire. I don’t think it can get any better than that!

So the first weekend in June my husband and I ate a gourmet meal in a beautiful cornfield close to the Kaw river—a lovely setting. And the second weekend in June we were listening to the Symphony in the Flint Hills, with the Tallgrass Prairie and the rolling hills as the backdrop.

After two events in a row I fear we are in danger of becoming refined. But my husband assured me with his response ‘It ain’t gonna happen’.

A big thanks to my husband for taking these wonderful photos!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dining In a Corn Field

My husband’s birthday was at the end of May. So what do you get the man that has everything? At our age, if we need something we usually go out and buy it. I struggled to come up with something unique, and found the perfect gift while reading the Kansas! Magazine several months back. The article that caught my eye was about agritourism and featured a Kansas couple who hosted a gourmet meal right in their corn field. After visiting their website I signed up for the event. I had a few moments of nail biting because I really didn’t know what to expect, or if my husband would enjoy it.

The evening was to be a surprise for my husband. The only thing he knew was the directions since he was the one doing the driving. Here’s what greeted us as we arrived for Hors d’oeuvres. Just look at that gorgeous farm table, which really wasn’t a table at all, but more like a well –used work bench. We were served curry pheasant salad on crusty bread, gooey miniature grilled cheese sandwiches, and a couple Kansas wines.

My husband and I could not keep our eyes off the tables all lined up in a row, the colorful napkins, the white chairs, and the sun shining on the goblets making them sparkle. We took 17 photos of that stunning table, and that’s just the beginning.

This is the menu for the evening. With each course a different California wine was featured. The food was fabulous and I wish I would have snapped a photo of each course, but I was too distracted by the food to even think about taking pictures.

Here are just a few of the many photos my husband took that night. Debbie Miller of Midwest Living Magazine was there, but I didn't get to visit with her other than to let her know how much I love the magazine.

Another photo of the table, but if you look closely towards the back left you'll see Chef Scott Benjamin explaining each course. The Wild Rice Risotto was to die for and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

This is where the meal was served from. Who would think a gourmet meal could be put together under a tent!

Below: The couple on the right are the original owners of the farm. If you've ever been to Kansas you might hav seen the signs that read 'One Kansas Farmer feeds 128 people and you!' This couple helped make and place 60 billboards across the state.

The evening ended with the glow of the torches and a full moon hanging low in the sky.