Sunday, November 27, 2011

yoga cards, charm swap & update on bca pendants

So, how was your Thanksgiving? Lots of good food, family time & laughter? I hope so! 

Since my last post, I've enjoyed creating two dozen cards for a custom order. It's been awhile since I've worked with paper. It was nice not to have a pressing deadline so I could take my time to enjoy the process, playing with colors & textures. Here's a sampling of the results: 

These are a couple charms for a swap going on in one of the Yahoo groups I belong to. Don't you love the depth of the colors you get with Friendly Plastic? 

Lastly, the bca pendants I shared in my last blog post are all gone/spoken for (so no blog give-away -- sorry!). They were fun to make and as always, I learned something along the way. 

I'm off now to begin decorating for the next holiday! Are you all decorated at your place for whichever holiday you celebrate next? 


Monday, October 31, 2011

breast cancer awareness pendants

When I shared a photo of my last glass pendants (link here) on facebook in July, a friend said she'd like something in pink with "the" ribbon as embellishment. In honor of her and October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I made some pink glass pendants with pink ribbons. These I intentionally kept simple -- no extra wiring -- to represent freedom rather than confinement.

These pendants will all be given away to breast cancer survivors/fighters, with the person who inspired them getting first choice. If there are any left after facebook, I'll hold a blog drawing.


Monday, October 10, 2011

katydid and wips

This katydid came by the other day. Aren't its patterns interesting? You can click to see close up. 

And just so you know I don't spend all my time bird & bug watching {smile}, here are some wips I've been working on in honor of October being breast cancer awareness month. Don't forget to schedule your mammograms, ladies, and self-check too! 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

a special trip to the mailbox

I'm hoping to feel up to making progress on some glass pendant WIPs today (been fighting a bit of a cold), but in the meantime, I'll share a photo from yesterday. Our mailbox is at the curb, and since I'm not consistent about watering plants, I use silk flowers in the mailbox flower box. The fact the flowers are fake didn't matter to this gorgeous dragonfly -- he rested there nearly hidden for quite some time. If it had been a cloudy day I might have missed him, but the sun danced so beautifully off his stunning wings I saw him instantly & dashed back in the house for the camera. If you click on the photo, you can see him in more detail. 

Wishing you all a truly enjoyable day!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

young hummingbird

We put the hummingbird feeder out every year, but this is the first year we've been visited by a youngster. This little one has been eating and resting on our oriole feeder all weekend. His right wing is weaker than the left, but soon he'll be strong enough to travel far. For now, we are enjoying his visit -- so much fun to watch! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm a winner!

Check out the fabulous book I won over at Carmi's Art/Life World! It arrived today and was a wonderful start to my holiday weekend. I'm looking forward to soaking in the beautiful photographs and following the instructions to create unique jewelry pieces. Thank you, Carmi! You are very generous!

It's been a fast paced couple of weeks here. Yes, after being laid off in February, I'm very happy to say I'm gainfully employed again and thrilled to say that thus far, I'm absolutely loving most everything about it! Life is GOOD!

"Work while you have the light. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you." ~ Henri-Frederic Amiel

Wishing you all a safe and fun-filled holiday weekend!


Friday, August 19, 2011

our state bird at our state fair

We enjoyed a great day at the Iowa State Fair Wednesday. I snapped this photo of the state bird of Iowa at one of the gardens while we snacked on freshly made mini donuts for breakfast. Yes, I gave in to a sugary treat at 8am but was a good girl the rest of the day with a veggie corn dog for lunch and lots of water (ok, and a couple wheat beers before we left - smile).

Speaking of photos, my new camera arrived after we got home from the fair and I'm LOVING it! I haven't played much, but what I've seen of it so far has be very excited. This fun new toy might mean I have more photos to share (that give-and-take thing, since I enjoy so many of everyone else's photos on their/your blogs). Until next time....


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

goodbye to a great little camera

After two years and four months of great service, my little Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS suddenly quit working. I loved that camera ~ it easily fit in both my purse and back pocket and it took great photos. Reading through various reviews of the camera I learned mine suffered from a common defect. It would freeze up and the screen would go black. It would be several seconds or minutes before it would unstick. Reliability is an absolute must for a camera, so off to research new cameras I went. Tomorrow my new Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS arrives! I'm so excited about the advanced features of this little camera and to top it off ~ we had enough reward points saved up to cover the price! WOO-HOO! The only downside is that it won't be here today in order to use it tomorrow when we go to the Iowa State Fair. Looks like I'll be taking my larger camera on that adventure.... not ideal, but it'll be good practice at being responsible ~ hahaha! Interesting that two years ago, the 28mm 20x zoom on my "larger" camera was ground-breaking... yet today the upgraded version of that camera has 24mm 35x zoom for $170 less. What will they be offering a year from now? hmmmm.....

"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential." ~ Steve Ballmer


Sunday, August 14, 2011

drilling holes in glass pendants

Hubby & I went to a home improvement store yesterday to buy a couple electrical items. We can never seem to get out of those types of stores without snooping around in other isles, which usually means impulse purchases. This time I was the lucky one, finding and purchasing a glass & tile bit for my Dremel. It couldn't stay in the package long, either. I had it out last night to create a new glass pendant. I love my Dremels (yes, so much so that I own two of them). This new drill bit opens up even more creative options for my pendants. YIPPEE!

"Sometimes on the way to the dream, you get lost & find a better one." ~ author unknown


Sunday, July 24, 2011

in the zone

Some ideas have been floating around in my head for several months now, and I finally took action on them yesterday. The hours flew by before I knew it. Not only did I have an absolute blast creating these pieces, I'm totally diggin' the results and can't wait to create more. The possibilities are endless & my mind is racing. Granted, I have a long way to go but this is an excellent start. This afternoon was spent cutting & grinding a couple dozen pieces of glass for the next time I can play, which I sure hope is soon {grin}.

"My motto - sans limites." ~ Isadora Duncan


Friday, July 22, 2011

black-n-clear/silver set

I recently lucked out with a heck of a bargain on a black & white jacket so decided to create something unique to go with it. The focal point of the necklace is a mirrored glass tile, ground down for smooth edges before being embedded into Friendly Plastic. It was then covered in gloss glaze.

"People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including ourselves." ~ Salma Hayek


Saturday, July 9, 2011

friendly plastic play date

Over the last few years on my last job, I occasionally worked with a gal whom I'd never met in person. All our interaction was over the phone or computer. Regardless, we discovered things in common and struck up a friendship. She recently left work to pursue her creative dreams and invited me to come to her studio to play sometime. Still unemployed myself, I took an afternoon off from job-hunting and finally met my friend in person. What a delight! We spent the afternoon getting to know each other a little better and playing with Friendly Plastic. She'd purchased some but not taken the time to use it so I showed her some very basic techniques. She has no fear & immediately began experimenting. Here's a photo she snapped of the results of our first play date:

I'm grateful for this "new" creative friend in my life, and look forward to our next play date. She's pursuing her dream and so willing to share herself. As Louise Hay said, "Everyone in my life has something to teach me. We have a purpose in being together."


Friday, July 1, 2011

dragonfly visit

While weeding the garden today, I was visited by a beautiful dragonfly.

I cannot explain it, but whenever I see a dragonfly, I'm compelled to stop whatever I'm doing and study it. They fascinate me to no end. We're both born of water (I'm Pisces), and according to some, dragonflies symbolize growth and change, which I've definitely been going through. Whatever the draw, its visit was one of the highlights of my day (among several ~ it was truly a blessed day).

After a cold & wet June, central Iowa is finally experiencing summer. We've been in the upper 90's the past two days, and expect to stay here for a while. YAY! I love the heat ~ bring it on! Fully experiencing all four seasons is one of the best parts of living in the Midwest and something I cherish. Then again, I've not lived anywhere else so it may just be a situation of choosing to be happy :)

"Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed." ~ Corita Kent


Monday, June 20, 2011

practicing wire wrapping

Have you taken any jewelry classes online? I recently took Max Goodman's Jewelry Workshop through Max covers pearl knotting, wire wrapping, chain making & photo etching and does a good job of talking students through each step in the process. I took the class primarily for the wire wrapping and chain making and wasn't disappointed. I've been practicing the wire wrapping using wires, beads & findings I had on hand. The center item of the earth-toned bracelet below is one of my Friendly Plastic creations (love that stuff!).

Happy creating! And remember, as we learn new skills...

"A mistake is simply another way of doing things." ~ Katherine Graham


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

jewelry mode

The earring swap I participated in last week ignited a bit of a jewelry craze for me. Here are the latest creations.

The beautiful purple and silver glass beads in these earrings are encircled by rings made from UTEE, alcohol inks and various powders. I thought then provided an atmospheric or planetary ring quality to the glass beads that remotely look like planets.

The pendant is stamped friendly plastic, coated with gloss glaze.

"Do what's in front of you as well as possible. Keep going until you realize what you're best at." ~ Helen Gurley Brown


Sunday, May 29, 2011

beaded earrings

I joined another quick swap today ~ this time for earrings. I haven't made jewelry for months, and needed to get my supplies out to repair a bracelet for my sister, so it seemed like a great idea. And as always, I had fun! I've had these beautiful glass beads for quite awhile, but don't have any clothing in these colors so they are perfect to use for a swap. The earring wire itself is gold-plated, so will hopefully be ok for my swap partner.

I had so much fun, I decided to make something for myself. I'd purchased these pewter moons moons ago (ha ha). They pair well with the dragonfly and glass beads. It's simple bead work, but they are one of a kind and all mine, and each time I wear them, I'll remember the relaxing afternoon I enjoyed making them.

"The ability to embrace my ordinariness makes me feel extraordinary." ~ Jana Kennon


Monday, May 23, 2011

generic vs handmade

I was invited to have coffee with a local business woman last week. She owns her own small business & gave me a tour of the beautiful facility. It wasn't a job interview ~ rather ~ we were just reconnecting (I'd taken a class from her many years ago, not long after she founded her business). I was so amazed and appreciative that she'd make time in her busy day to foster a relationship ~ that is what small business is all about! A generic, store-bought 'professional' business card feel right to me, so I chose to make one using her company's color. I wondered through Michael's looking for embellishments & came across some flowers. The colors didn't scan well but that's ok.

Customizing our creations for the recipients not only makes it more appealing to the recipient, but helps push our creativity where we might not otherwise go (or to use items we might not otherwise use)....


"Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower." ~ John Harrigan


Monday, May 16, 2011

check in and bookmark swap

Yowsa! It's been six weeks since my last post. If anyone tells you looking for employment is a full-time job in itself, believe them! While I look forward to receiving a paycheck again, this transition period and journey of exploration has been tremendously rewarding as far as personal growth. I've met some fabulous women and discovered paths and opportunities I didn't know existed. Going out into the world after nearly 29 years at one company is like discovering a complete library of books when previously you only had access to a few. Oh, the possibilities!

Speaking of books, I've read several so far this year and if I had to pick just one to recommend, I'd recommend Aspire by Kevin Hall. I finished it and immediately started reading it again... it's that good. If you want something to get you thinking & truly inspire you, read this book.

And now for the 'goods.' In April I signed up for a Yahoo Group bookmark swap for May. It was a perfect push for me to create something when I might not otherwise take the time. I created yesterday and oh what fun I had! Creating was fun... the challenge was trying to make items that the recipients might like. I know one of the gals but the other two are new to me, so I had to make assumptions based on previous correspondence I'd seen from them, blogs, etc. Anyhoo.... here's what I ended up with:

The beautiful image of an Indian postcard is from Stampington & Company, cat stencil by All Night Media, and daisy paper by DCWV. Twinkling H2Os made one of the daisies pop out, along with a mixture of embossing powders for the center. It was a great day and I look forward to my next stint playing/creating. In the meantime, I leave you with a quote from Aspire:

"Talents and gifts do not reduce or diminish when shared; they expand and increase like the widening ripples from a pebble dropped in water." ~ Kevin Hall


Saturday, April 2, 2011

new storage and wip

My hubby has been revamping his workshop. After building some new wall cabinetry, he had some leftover pegboard, so he built this storage/display unit for me.

I removed the handle on top, added casters to the bottom and filled one side with some clearance/thrift shop findings that will eventually be used in art or altered jewelry.

Here it is in its new home. Notice Winston and Gandalf there? Ahhh.... love....

And here's what I've added to one of the backgrounds I shared a couple weeks ago. It's my first painting of a person. I just "saw" her in the background and brought her forward. It was weird, and, it was magical. She's not complete, at least I don't think so.... I'm just letting this piece come about as it will. I look at it each day, open for it to to speak to me again... telling me how it wants to emerge...

"See into life -- don't just look at it." ~ Anne Baxter


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

winter isn't giving up

It's March 29 and winter isn't giving up on Iowa yet. We didn't get much snow overnight, but enough to blanket most things. It's so clean and fresh! Mother Nature is making everything clean & sparkly for spring to make a glorious & colorful late entrance!

When I turned back to the house, I discovered these two priceless babes watching my every move. Gandalf and Winston haven't let me out of their sight much since we lost Gandalf's brother Avatar to renal failure Friday night. They haven't had much attention the last few weeks since I've been caring for Avy, so not only are they making sure I'm ok, they are wanting their fill of affection (and believe me, I've been pouring it on them). I don't know what I'd do without my boys..... at the moment, they are each curled up napping in their baskets next to my desk. Yup, I'm in love..... :)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time --
A day to begin transforming winter's dreams
into summer's magic. ~ Adrienne Cook


Monday, March 14, 2011

get your craft on

The last few days I've taken a break from job search stuff to nourish my creative side, which, quite frankly, was getting pretty darn cranky about not getting any attention. My husband gave a Zentangle kit to me for Valentine's Day (he rocks!) so I've started playing around a bit with Zentangles. I created and sent holiday cards (yes, I was so late with Christmas/New Year's cards that I sent St. Patrick's Day cards instead ... hey, better late than never, right?), and worked on two backgrounds for new pieces:

I'll share the pieces once completed.

On the book front, I finished reading Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts (excellent!). The last couple of chapters were definitely my favorites, and this book is now residing in my craft room, within easy reach whenever I need inspiration. I started Room by Emma Donoghue (love it!) and will finish Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston tonight. What have you been reading?

Now, in honor of March being National Craft Month, I encourage you to go forth and get your craft on! {smile}


Monday, February 21, 2011

connection, gratitude & hope

Sharing our thoughts & creations takes courage, but the rewards are worth the effort and with each step, connections are made & confidence grows. The creative blogging community is a wonderful web of support & encouragement that is sometimes hard to find in one's local community. Though we don't all have the same tastes and preferences (how boring would that be?), we look for something good in each new soul we encounter. I thank all the wonderful friends I've made through blogging, and welcome the new friends who have recently become "followers."

One of my new pals, Tammy at Bonsai Habits, posted this video on her blog last week. It's such an important message, I'm passing it along too. I hope you'll take a few minutes to take it in....


Thursday, February 17, 2011

OWOH winner

OWOH = WOW! I am so glad I made the effort to participate in this wonderful event. I haven't even scratched the surface when visiting all the fabulous creative souls & their blogs. Heck, I haven't even read the comments on my own blog (I'm sorry for this ~ it's on the top of my to-do list for tomorrow!). For now, it's February 17 pm and time to announce my winner. Drum roll please...
#131.... Nicole at Beadwright! Nicole, I'll contact you for your book choice and mailing address.

My sincere thanks to all the visitors to my blog during this event. I'm anxious to read the comments tomorrow as well as continue visiting others from the event.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Walking Through Illusion

This week's snowstorm took out our internet last night, so I curled up & finished a good book I'd started in January. I don't normally share much on my blog about the books I read, but this book was different and since it's not a best seller or on Oprah's list, I want to get the word out about it. It's Walking Through Illusion by Betsy Otter Thompson. Here's the description on the back cover:

"Walking Through Illusion features a series of short stories about biblical people who either knew Jesus or knew of him, and were influenced by him in one way or another. It is about people who lived long before Christianity began. The author believes that we don't take our beliefs with us when we leave here; we take the love we found from having them.

"Each chapter focuses on the growth of a particular person and each chapter is complete within itself with a specific theme. The end of each chapter has a worksheet with questions, designed to bring the ideas from the book into the reader's everyday life in a meaningful way."

Let me share up front that I'm not Christian nor do I know much of the bible. As such, I was a bit skeptical about reading this book. However, I do pride myself on being open-minded & inquisitive, and I thoroughly enjoy books that help me grow & evolve so I decided to give it a try. While I believe it would've been an easier read if I had known something about these biblical characters, my naivete meant I came to the stories with no preconceived notions. Topics addressed included Morality, Approval, Confusion, Death, etc. (23 in all). Most of the stories were easily relatable to my own modern day life. To help with that connection, the author shared her own personal insights on each story/lesson. I would not have guessed it when I read those first few pages, but I ended up highlighting multiple passages in the book, having been touched by them, and even tabbing a few powerful pages. I'm very glad I opened my heart & mind to this book. It was well worth the time.

If you too pursue personal growth, or just enjoy a good read, I recommend Walking Through Illusion.

Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart 2011

Last night was the official kickoff of One World One Heart 2011. I am excited to participate this year and want to thank Lisa Swifka for hosting this wonderful event. I'm anxious to blog hop all over the world the next couple of weeks, meeting other bloggers and peeking into their worlds. We are all alike in one way or another, and it's fun to uncover those similarities and learn from our differences.

Oh, silly me... introductions....

Hello, and welcome to my blog! My name is Dianna but my friends call me Di. I live in central Iowa, USA. Having worked in the corporate world my entire adult life, I decided a few years back it was time to nurture the other side of my brain/self. When I could make time in my schedule, I started dabbling in various creative areas, starting first with silk flowers & greeting cards and more recently playing around with mixed media, jewelry, essential oils, a wee bit of photography, etc. I've been having a blast! The biggest challenge has been finding time & energy while working a full time (plus) job. That issue is being resolved for me, as I'm one of 1,500 being laid off at our company. My last day will be 2/15/11, so while I've been busy & will continue to be busy finding a new job, I intend to find one that affords me more time to enjoy life & express myself through creative activities! One of these days I hope to land on one or two creative outlets that truly make my heart sing AND bring joy to others. My dream is to take that creative outlet and turn it into career in some way (hey, a girl's gotta have goals, right?). In the meantime, I want a job supporting someone else reaching their goal. When I'm not working, I'll continue learning, practicing & sharing various art & crafts.

The on-line creative community (bloggers, yahoo groups, etc.) has become an important part of my life, just like creating/crafting is now integral to who I am.

Anyhoooo, I encourage you to roam around my site. If you have a question, comment or suggestion about anything, please let me know.

Oh, and as a thank you for visiting my blog, if you are an active worldwide blogger & leave a comment on this OWOH post between 1/30/11 and 2/17/11 (with a way for me to contact you in the event you win), you name will be entered in a drawing. One lucky blogger will win this bookmark I made along with her/his choice of one of the following books (just three of my favorites, and don't worry, the winner will receive a new book and not my marked up, written in, tabbed version).

  • Life is a Verb by Patti Digh
  • I Can Do It by Louise L. Hay
  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

I'll draw the winning name on 02/17/11.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

craigslist virgin no more

Well, I made my first craigslist purchase this evening. While I don't typically get pulled in by trends and such, I've been taken in over the past couple of years by the versatility of dress forms. Keeping my eye open for an inexpensive one for many months now, I stumbled across this one late last week. She reminds me of my late-teen days working in the dress/gift shop. I can't wait to clean her up so she adds a bit of style to my craft room!

I hope you too are enjoying unexpected delights this week.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

you are worth the time

This message is too important not to share...

Thank you, Jan Phillips.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

bookmark swap

It's been many months since I participated in any of the activities in the Yahoo groups I'm in. I finally ended that cycle today. My plan was to make a bookmark from polymer clay, but for some reason the clay wouldn't harden so I switched gears and used metal. The recipient likes deep colors, nature-inspired themes, suns and moons so I choose jewel-toned ocean colors and end beads that have a sun on one side and moon on the other. The back reminds me of rain.

It was fun to make ~ I hope she likes it!