Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Taking A Break

Hey there,  I'm taking a much needed break from my blog.  I am experiencing a health issue that came on suddenly, and since I'm normally a healthy person this is quite alarming.  It's my heart, which is nothing to take lightly.

Unfortunatlely I'll have to forego all the challenges I've entered. 

In the mean time, please remember to take care of yourself and make all those appointments you know you need...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Focusing on Life 52 Photos Week Four - Create

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It's week four of Sally's Focusing on Life 52 Photos.  This week we were challenged to create something. I make jewelry, but I thought that would be too easy since this is a challenge.  So what to make?  At lunch I was reading an old issue of Victoria Magazine and came across a feature on Sharyn Sowell who made cut paper silhouettes, and I just had to try my hand at this intricate form of art.

I got my inspiration from a greeting card, drew it on a sheet of art paper, cut it out and attached to to a black background.  I have to say it was very difficult to cut those tiny parts out at the bottom.  Of course I didn't have sharp scissors, and my fingers got sore very quickly. Possibly the old 'practice makes perfect' would apply here, but I think I'll pass on this form of art.

Since time was running out I cried Uncle, threw in the towel and made a piece of jewelry.

I love to see the bright green tips of plants poking out of the ground, signaling springs eminent arrival. This necklace was made with a gorgeous asparagus pendant from Mary Harding, pretty Czech beads from    Arte Bella Surplus, and Vintaj chain and components.

'Ushering In Spring'

Thanks for visiting.  Please check Sally's Blog to see what everyone else created.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

If you're looking for my Focusing on Life 52 Photos Week Three post click here.
I'm so excited for the first reveal date of Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge!  Our goal is to make a pair of earrings each week for thirteen weeks.  Each pair must include at least one artisan-made component. I love making earrings (instant gratification) and actually have to force myself to make something else. The reveal dates are every two weeks, so there will be two pair of earrings at each reveal.
My first pair includes 'spicy mustard' lampwork beads by PD Lampwork. I purchased these many years ago and unfortunately I have lost track of this artist. Also included are earwires from Fire Mountain Gems, plated spacers form Rio Grande, and silver filled wire from Artbeads.  I love this stuff! 

My second pair includes lovely polymer beads from Heather Powers, wonderful Czech beads from
Arte Bella Surplus, and Vintaj brass branch dangles and earwires. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please visit the Art Jewelry Elements Blog to see what the other participants have created.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

52 Photos Week 3 Taking Time For Ourselves

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Our mission this week is to show how we how we pamper ourselves and take the time (without guilt) to recharge.  I'll be honest, with all our children either on their own or driving age, plus the luxury of a part time job, I've got it made. Still, with my jewelry business, housekeeping, bills, school activities, and the huge amount of volunteer work I do in our church and the community, I find there are just note enough hours in the day to get everything done.
So how do I like to relax and recharge?  With books!  Books on gardening, books on making jewelry, books on cooking, books on healthy living, and magazines--lots of magazines. These are just  a few of the books I have on making jewelry.
To really recharge my batteries I like to go on Sunday drives in the country with our kids, their cousins, and their grandpa.

But the best way to recharge for me is to take a summer vacation. Our family has taken a summer vacation nearly every year, and when we arrive home I'm already longing for the next one.

Our Chicago Trip Summer of 2012 - Lake Michigan Lighthouse, Chicago Harbor

Ferris Wheel at the Pier-Chicago

So how do you like to recharge?
Thanks for stopping by. Please check out Sally's blog to see all the other participant's photos.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Spirit of Sharing and a Giveaway

Mary Jane Dodd has a wonderful way with words. Whenever I  read her blog I come away inspired.  Not only that, but she also makes the most beautiful jewelry; jewelry that carries a message.

Recently she hosted a giveaway for earrings created with the sweet charms you see in the photo above.  Her intention was to give two pairs to the winner, and the winner could share one pair with another person.  Izzy was the winner and she opted to give both pairs to me (Thank you Izzy!).

Here's the lovely package I received.

And the inside--It's a tea box cut apart--how clever!

 And the gorgeous earrings.

In honor of Mary Jane's intention to share, I will be giving away one pair of these earrings. All  you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog.  And if you choose to spread the word on social sites just leave a separate comment for each. 

The winner will be announced on January 30th. 
And if the winner chooses to continue the spirit of sharing in some way, that would be wonderful.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Focusing on Life 52 Photos Week Two~ Our Word

Welcome to week two of Sally Russick's Focusing on Life 52 Photos.
This week we are focusing on the journey using our Word for the year.

My word for 2013 is Brave.
 This year it's all about getting my business in order, learning new techniques, and tying new things to promote my business.Typically I'm timid when trying new things as I mentioned in this post. But there's no time to be timid now because my business is this close to becoming a hobby.  And I certainly don't want that to happen.

Here is my photo for this assignment.  I used a vintage travel case (which reeks of musty stuff).  Inside are just some of the goals I have for this year: exploring riveting and cold connections with a DVD by Helen Driggs, Learning (again) how to solder with Kate Richbourg's book 'Simple Soldering', and actually making pieces inspired by my favorite jewelry magazines. I hoard these jewelry books but I realize they aren't just there to look pretty, though they do that anyway. There so much more that I want to try, like the Coiling  Gizmo which is still in it's original package, and though it is not related to jewelry, I want to start eating healthier even if it is just one or two days a week.

 Having a bit of fun with Picasa's 'soften' tool.

Thanks for stopping by. Please check Sally's blog to see the rest of the participants photos.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Celebrating January

photo by me--Alice Peterson
Please do not use it without my permission.

I love January. 
It's like a palette cleanser after the chaos of the holidays.
A fresh slate on which to record our new goals.
A blank canvas on which to paint our dreams.
No commitments.
No pressure, no expectations just yet.
Forgetting the failures of last year.
Brimming with ideas for the new year.
Starting over.
Trying new things.

I've never been one to make New Year resolutions because I know I can't keep them. Usually I just try to set a few goals, be a better person, exercise more etc.  And though I have casually chosen my Word for the year twice before, it never stays with me the entire year.
But I keep trying anyway because that's what January is for.

I don't remember all my goals for last year, but one I do remember was to get my jewelry in shops, which happened at the beginning of December.  I was very excited, and we'll see how that goes in the coming months.  I'm looking for more shops to carry my jewelry this year, and hope to have a few home shows as well. Another goal from 2012 was to open an etsy shop. My daughter started one for me, and I just need to fill it up and get it going. 

As for my Word for the year, I have chosen 'Brave'. I've always been very timid at trying new things for fear of failure or not being good enough.  This year I want to try new things despite the fear.  My first challenge was signing up for Sally Russick's Focusing on Life-52 photos. The first assignment was just that-a challenge. You can read about it in this post.  I seriously need to improve my photography skills for my etsy shop.  Also, I want to do more than just think about getting my jewelry in a magazine or two.  Again the fear of not being good enough stops me cold.

So tell me, how are you celebrating January?

Thanks  to Angie at Knick of Time for letting me show this lovely photo. It can be purchased as a download at  her etsy shop:  Knick of Time

Friday, January 4, 2013

52 Photos Week One

I signed up to participate in Sally Russick's 'Focusing on Life: 52' photos because I thought it would help me become a better photographer and force me to blog more regularly.  Each week we will receive a photo prompt--our first one was waiting in my email on New Years Day.  I was so excited to see what our assignment was, and then the excitement quickly turned to horror. Our assignment is to take a self-portrait. I've never liked having my photo taken so this was definitely a challenge for me, and I quickly started thinking about ways I could complete the assignment while not really showing my face.

My 'office' desk faces the front of the house, and often I can be found chin resting on my hands and looking out the window. So I set up my camera on the porch in hopes I could catch a shadow of myself through the glass.  Of course I had to use the self timer and run back inside before the timer went off (yes I can hear you laughing at the thought).  But it didn't work. Between the window screen and the reflection off the glass you could only barely make out the image.  So on to plan B.

This time I decided to take a photo of me from the inside looking out.  You can just see the outline of our front porch and you might even see a bit of snow. 
This photo is OK, but not really what I was looking for. On to plan C.

In this photo I used the Picasa Pencil Sketch, still trying to not actually show myself.  While it does the trick hiding most of me, it still isn't what I wanted, and it sort of is a cop out. On to plan D.

So I decided to buck up and just do it.  Here's my final photo, the same as the above, cropped and without the pencil sketch effect.  I look like I'm  frowning a bit.  I might have been since things were not working out like I wanted, and because I have much to learn when it comes to taking photos.  When my husband reads this he will tell me all the things I could have done to make it work, instead of just pressing the button and hoping for the best!  I just need to find my manual, and try to make sense of it. 

Despite my misgivings about our first assignment, I'm looking forward to exploring photography with Sally for 52 weeks.  Check out Sally's blog to see more photos of all the participants.