Friday, December 27, 2013

Focus on Life: Bye Bye for Now!

A little friend scurries away. 

Well, we have come to the end of the first year of Focus on Life. This project, sponsored by Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime, has encouraged creative photography and story telling all year long. 

These past few weeks have been challenging because I usually like to capture the natural world around me, and the cold weather and short days limit the pictures I can take. 

Looking around me when the weather allowed, I just didn't think anything presented the opportunity to portray this week's theme, "Saying Goodbye". And them I remembered this little fellow.....

As I scrambled to get my camera turned on and grab a picture of this cute squirrel, he noticed me and my pal, Bebop, and scooted away. 

"Goodbye, friend Squirrel, catch you next time."

Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Focus on Life: Togetherness

Pasting together a post about togetherness. 

The Focus on Life photography challenge, hosted by Sally Russick of the Studio Sublime, is winding down its first year, and we have just received our invitations to join for 2014. 

What a wonderful activity this has been! And this week's prompt - Togetherness, well, it's a natural for the holidays. And our family of four, Jim and I and our two kids, we'll be together again, after spending them apart last year with Michael in Afghanistan. 

Timing could have been a bit better. As I write this on Friday evening, it looks as if it will be a bit too stressful to concoct a family portrait by posting time. 

So, here's a little bit of togetherness that happened ...well, at other times. 

Sara and Michael are two and a half years apart in age, and as with many siblings, they grew from being good buddies and playmates, to being two very different people. 
Sara and Michael circa 1997

Sara and Michael April 2013
Brother and sister through the years. As unlike as they can be, until they forget about all their differences, and start sharing memories. I love those times.....together. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Focus on Life: A Pop of Red

Red helps me through the gray days!

As the year comes to an end, we are so grateful to Sally Russick for creating this Focus on Life Photo challenge, inspiring a bunch of bloggers to push the envelope of our creative photography.

This week's prompt is "A Pop of Red," just the right theme for some gray, cold, pre-winter weather we have been having recently. 

I knew I would find "Winter Berries" near the end of our driveway, even though we were having an ice storm. And looking across the lawn, I found a forgotten red infant swing hanging from a tree at our neighbors' house, probably too small for the baby when the weather gets warm enough to use it. 

I love these "Winter Berries" and just beyond, the bright red swing. 

Let's see what POPS the others have found.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Focus on Life: Holiday Sparkle

Finding Peace and Pretties in all the Hustle and Bustle.

Last weekend, I set up a booth at the Christkindlmarkt in Port Jervis New York, and sold some of my jewelry.   Not my most successful sales experience, but we had a pleasant time, when all is said and done. Then, I opened our photo prompt from Sally Russick, and it said: "Add a little sparkle."

I took some pictures that were just perfect!

First, some jewelry waiting to be packed up.These were taken with my phone!

Just some fun sparkly plastic beads.

Some of my Holly and Ivy collection for this Holiday.

And at the market:

I love my new picket fence display!

And as we were leaving I had to snap these: 

Old brick church framed by a decorated tree. 

Trees with sparkly white lights (both of these given a little boost with PicMonkey.)
Lets see what others have done!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Focus On: Giving Thanks

An unexpected blog post. 

Sally Russick sent us the phrase "Giving Thanks" as a photo prompt for this week's Focus on Life series, 

As others have stated before, it's been a great experience participating in this photo blog experiment. And sometimes, it brings out things you would not have expected. 

When pondering "Giving Thanks" I first decided to go with something traditional like my family, or more specifically my husband's health, which had been in question at this time last year. He is feeling fine now, and for that we are all very thankful. 

But I have recently featured him in this blog, and he might not have wanted another picture illustrating some "random" concept so soon. 

Like many people, I am thankful for so many things.... health, family, my career, living in a free country, the beautiful country side, loving pets, a house that manages to still be standing after about a hundred years or so, many many things.  

So I decided to feature my sketch book. I have never kept a sketch book before, and I have been adding to this one at least once a week since the end of July. I have always been interested in art, I design jewelry, I do other crafts, and for most of my life I have thought that I could draw, but badly. So I decided that I could only improve by giving myself permission to try.   I am so thankful I decided to do that. I am finding this an enjoyable journey. Click on a thumbnail to find out what others are thankful for. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Focus on Life: Centerpiece

Wherein I reveal my not-so-secret passion. 

When Sally Russick sent out this week's photo prompt, I was tempted to create a pretty table decoration for next week's Christmas Market, take a picture and call it done, but I kind of coasted on the deeper meaning of last week's "reflection" theme, so this one better be a more serious reflection of ME. 

What centers me? What is my center? What gives me joy, peace, contentment?  

Just one stack of books that sit in my bedroom waiting for me to read them 

I took apart a stack of books (yes, this was originally just one stack, teetering precariously on my dressing table.) When I put them on the bed, they made three shorter stacks. To be fair, I do use my Kindle quite a bit, so that had to join the picture. 

Why books? I have had a love affair with books since childhood. I chose a profession that involves books every day (I'm a Librarian.) I love to read, and I love to learn. Of course there is more to me than reading. Oh yes, family, art jewelry, pets, but somehow, I return to books as my center. 

And what's in the books? I love novels, so there are lots of those, but there is also humor, biography, history, gardening, music.... I'm sure there is more. 

Can't wait to find out how others represented their centers. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Focus on Life: Reflect.


This week, we received the following from Sally Russick who has been coming up with interesting ideas for us to use as photography inspiration points for almost a year.

  REFLECT: The start of the Holiday Season is coming up quickly whether we are ready or not, so before jumping into all the hustle and bustle let's take a moment to slow down and reflect on all the joy, peace, happiness and love we already have in our life. 

I reflected on this theme, and decided that I would go for the literal photographic interpretation...I love photos of water reflecting light, foliage, and the sky. I also found an opportunity to show the moon reflecting sunlight, and the clouds reflecting the moonlight. And, as my husband pointed out, without reflection, we wouldn't see anything. Deep, no? 

But that thought is about as deep in thought as this blog goes.  I'm not sure how I would reflect my reflections on life in these pictures, but I hope they prove to be soothing and a suitable lead in to our busy holidays. 

Monday I went out in the morning to look for reflections. 

First I found a really cool effect of the sun reflecting off of power lines.

Then I found a small stream, you wouldn't notice it but for the reflections it showed.

Reflecting on this guy, he was so cooperative, letting me take tons of pictures.
He is a Muscovy duck, likely a pet, because these ducks aren't native here. 

A traditional "upsidedown trees" shot. 
But today, I tried something a bit different, I was looking for reflections at the other end of the day. 

If you look closely, you can see that there are geese in this picture,
 and they generate a little pool of reflection around them. 

Sunset on the water. Enough said. 

Moonlight reflecting on clouds, seen through the last of the leaves.
Goodnight Moon. 

See what the others are doing with reflection. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I subject my own work to a do-over challenge. 

I have been trying to clean up, rearrange and finish things. In the process of doing that, I found things like this. It was actually in a bag of things that had fallen on the floor, swept up, and were waiting to be sorted.  

Cute little rosebud pendant made with polymer clay, but it's a little bumpy, and do you see that the color from the red clay has transferred onto the white? 

I used some acrylic craft paint, and finished it with some embossing powder and Mod Poge Dimensional magic. 

Not sure where this is going, but it is a great start for something that had been going to go into the garbage!

Oh yes, and that IS the top of a Jeannie Dukic box top I used as a photo background. The finished piece still needs some work - I used a very thin wire as a loop at the would never hold up as a pendant. Also, it was not quite cured when I snapped this picture. You can see some opaque areas on the glaze that went away eventually. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Focus on life: Industrial Photography!

Making Art From Industry.

Sally Russick's prompt for this week was Industrial Photography. While out on a mission to drop my daughter off at work and pick up a few groceries, I visited a small industrial area near her workplace.

To introduce our topic Sally Says : "It is amazing how something perceived as cold and [its] purpose is to perform a function can have a beautiful soul."

Not sure that I have found any beautiful souls but here is an assortment of sights from our nearby industry. I played with them a little to enhance their features. 

First a little introduction:

We have an Industrial Drive, but precious little industry is on that road. 
Some artsy play with industrial scenery: 

Just a little "retouching" with this one. 

Using PicMonkey's "Warhol" effect. 
Everybody seems to remember to display the flag. The rest of this picture turned out more interesting for me in pixilated shapes.

Kind of looks like sand castles.

A row of imposing cement trucks.

Ready for tomorrow's job.

Click here to see what others have done:


Friday, November 1, 2013



Sally Russick has tasked us with the "chore" of taking photos of seasonal things. Halloween-y things. Maybe spooky, creepy (or spoopy, crepy) things. Ah, well, unless you consider this creepy
This little guy  hitched a ride
on the mail one cold day.
(and maybe you do) you will have to accept the pumpkin my daughter and her coworkers made for the Hannaford Supermarket pumpkin decorating contest. Some of the other ones, too.

Alice in Wonderland.
 (Excuse the fact that Alice's leg is beside her on the pumpkin -  It's been in a busy store for a week!)

The competition:

 I may be prejudiced, But I like Alice in Wonderland best! Unfortunately, they did not win. 

Find out what others did with this prompt by clicking on the thumbnails. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

6th Do Over Challenge Reveal!

Looking for Focus on Life?  It's Here, or just scroll down.

This is my second attempt to take a piece of jewelry sent by Jeannie Dukic, and change it into something more awesome than the original. That was tough this time, because I really liked the original.  Or, originals, as Jeannie sent along earrings and a memory wire bracelet.
The originals

Green fresh water pearls...the color shows better here. 
I thought the necklace and coordinating pieces were lovely. It reminded me of something you would make for a wedding. For the brides maids to wear with their pastel dresses and dyed-to-match shoes. So I took the design and tried to feature the pearls a little more, and the crystals a little less, and I changed the metal color from silver to copper, with a little help from some Beadalon Satin Copper Color beading wire, and Miyuki cube beads in a matte metallic khaki iris finish. I did not use the round silver spacer beads, so I had to take apart the bracelet to harvest the pearls.  

What do you think? 

This single strand necklace owes a lot to the original design.

I added a pair of earrings. 

Detail on the earrings. 

Now, I have to admit that last week, for this blog hop: Seed Bead and Metal Blog Hop,  I sneaked a few of the freshwater pearls to enhance my design. In a similar spirit, I used the bonus beads I received as part of that project in these earrings. 

What's this? The fresh Water Pearls show up here, too!

Here's a list of participants in the 6th Do Over Challenge! Hop on over and visit with Jeannie and the others, and see what they have made. 

Jeannie K Dukic (Challenge Host)
Penny Houghton
Susan Delaney
Becky Pancake
Therese Frank
Donetta Farrington
Molly Alexander
Mowse Doyle
Renetha Stanziano
Ginger Davis Allman
Kathy Richardson
Christie Murrow
Veralynne Malone
Shai Williams
Beti Horvath <<<---- You are here
Linda Britt
Miranda Ackerley
Mischelle Andrade
Tracy Stillman
Charlene Bausinger
Deana Hager

Friday, October 25, 2013

Focus on Life: In the Shadows

...or are we...

This week's Focus on Life prompt from Sally Russick asks us to capture the interplay of light and shadows. Even though the title implies that the shadows are what we should concentrate on, I found that the sunny day when I went out with my camera taught me how shadows emphasize the light. 

Of course, I managed to sneak in some beautiful fall color!

See the light and shadow that the others have found.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Seed Bead and Metal Blog Hop

Hop number 1 of 2

Looking for focus on life? Scroll down or click on this link.Focus on Life

Welcome to my Seed Bead and Metal blog hop reveal post. The Hop is sponsored by Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections and Shirley of Beads and Bread

Sharyl supplied us with beautiful metal components, and Shirley hand crafted some astounding beaded elements. We would not know what we would be receiving until the package arrived. Th arrival the same week of a package from Jeannie Dukic for her Do-over Challenge just made things more fun, but presented a bit of a dilemma.  

You see the fresh water pearls in Jeannie's package went so perfectly with the green in Shirley's beaded components. And Jeannie's reveal is not until next week! While I don't want to jump the gun on the second blog hop. I could not resist using a few pearls in this design. 

Here is what I received:

A Pretty Package!

Goodies inside
I didn't find use for the extras Sharyl send for this project, but you can bet this ribbon will get put to good use, as will the extra beads!

These coordinated so beautifully!

Finished project

You can see the pale green pearls that came in Jeanie's Do-Over Package! 

All I had to add were some assorted copper metallic seed beads, Some wire, and those pretty pale green fresh water pearls. I love the colors in the focal and the beads, they are perfect with the seed beads and wire!

Here is a list of the other participants, I can't wait to see what they created!

Seed Bead and Metal Blog Hop 

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson -- 

   Candy Wham --  (Participant posting on Sharyl's blog) 

   Angi Mullis -- (Participant posting on Sharyl's blog 

Shirley Moore -- Beads and Bread       (*Co-Host)     
Laren Dee Barton --  Laren Dee Designs     

Beti Horvath  --   Stringing Fool      <<<------You are here           

Tanya Goodwin -- A Work in Progress       

Marybeth Rich -- Forest of Jewels                 

Amy Severino  -- AmyBeads                         

Carolyn's Creations -- Carolyn's Creations   

Toltec Jewels --  Jewel School Friends