Friday, March 29, 2013

Focus On: Having Faith

What exactly is "faith" anyway?

faith  (fth)
1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belieftrust.
3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6. A set of principles or beliefs.
in faith
Indeed; truly.

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman fed, from Latin fids; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

When I opened the e-mail containing this week's photo prompt from Sally Russick, I felt that maybe, for the first time since I started participating in her challenge  "Focus on Life,"  I was going to have a little bit of trouble with this one. After all, we are talking about a fairly emotionally charged word. Faith. As in church, and religion, and all those things that I am not involved with. Interested, yes, respectful, I think so, but I am not, as they say, a person of Faith. 

But hold on, back that up, let's look at the small "f" faith. Definitions 1-3 above are completely uninvolved with religion. And last Sunday, I was able to hold in my arms the object of a lot of my faith in the past year.

My son, Michael, home for the first time since he returned from Afghanistan in January. I had a lot of faith that he would return unharmed. And just look a him!

Enjoy the rest of our expressions of faith at The Studio Sublime

Sharing the love

In honor of not quite knowing what's up with Google Reader and how following blogs will work, I have joined Bloglovin. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Also, remember the several blog hops, parties, and other events are coming up! 

The Bead Soup Blog Party starts tomorrow with the first reveal. I am in the second reveal on April 6th. But you know I am going to be looking tomorrow, as well as following my buds in Focus on Life. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Own Makeover

No, I am not jumping the gun

Although I am participating in Jeannie Dukic's 5th Do Over Challenge, I also have a few pieces of my own that I am reworking for one reason or another.

This is a necklace that I made a few years ago. I was just starting to do some wire wrapping, and it taught me a lot. But I was not satisfied with it.   Neither the wire I used, nor my skill at wrapping, are up to my current standards, and, I used some little beads that just did not stand up to stringing on wire, and wearing. They crumbled off over the years as I wore it. But I was, and still am in love with the carved rain forest jasper beads. 

My original wire wrapped necklace. 

The focal I made by wiring beads together. 

I called the shape a leaf, my friend calls them feathers. I sold her a necklace made of the last of these beads, and she has always wanted matching earrings. So this winter, I took the necklace apart, made two pairs of earrings, I offered her a choice of one of the two, and made them a birthday gift. I was going to keep the other pair, but someone at the lunch table at work bought them on the spot! 

So now, the necklace had to be made with at least four fewer leaf beads. I have never been able to find that shape again, but I did find a similar shape with the same stone at a bead show. Finally, I could finish the necklace the way I wanted. I even found some coordinating round beads, which really gave it a nice finish. 

Here is the new necklace....

The New Necklace.

New focal.

I do like the smoother line with the small round beads at the back. And I still have to make myself some earrings, because I lost one of my original earrings, in the grass, and never had hope of finding it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Focus on: Curves Observed

The geometry of life.

Last week, March 14, was Pi Day, highlighting the Greek letter Pi (π)which stands for the ratio between the radius and diameter of a circle. 

Today, we contemplate the curve, an important component of the circle, a shape, and a concept that is all over our lives, if we just stop and look. 

Sally Russick's Focus on Life, hosted on her blog, the Studio Sublime, suggests we "Observe the Curve."  Forgive me for being literal, but I saw these curves the day after we received our prompt.

And since it is our 33rd wedding anniversary I made a card. 

You never know what might be waiting around the next curve. Visit Sally's blog to see how others have interpreted this concept. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watercolor Again

Really liking exploring a new medium. 

I've used water color paint before, of course, but never in a really organized way (if you can call what I have been doing lately organized...) I have been following along with Watercolor 101 on Lori Plyler's blog, Studio Waterstone. The latest lessons have been  focused on using an enhanced wash as background to inked drawings. 

Here are the two washes I prepared. Lori had us do a flat wash, then drip water and colors onto the surface to see the backwash and blending that took place. Just to be difficult, er different, I started with a red wash. Then, when that did come out quite the way I expected, I used blue as Lori had!

Our next assignment was to draw flowers in ink on the washed and blended background. I started with the blue one - the one I did "correctly."

Okay, maybe not exactly according to directions, but close. I loved some of the colors on the enhanced wash too much to cover them with another layer of paint.

Next up, the red wash. I disregarded most of the directions, and had some fun. 

Can't wait until the next assignment!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Focus On: Endless Possibilities

 Looking at someone else's work with fresh eyes

This week, Sally Russick, of The Studio Sublime has challenged us to portray "The Possibilities are Endless" in our photography. So I went out and took some pictures of the tiniest hints of spring around my neighborhood. You can see them here: Hopeful Signs. Maybe I jumped the gun, maybe I just couldn't keep these Hopeful Signs to myself.

So I looked around for another subject. And here is what I found. 

A necklace and earrings from Jeannie Dukic's past!

This month I signed up for the 5th Do Over Challenge, sponsored by Jeannie Dukic of Jeannie's Blog. I just received a piece of jewelry that Jeannie made when she was starting out, which she had no intention of offering for sale at this stage in her design career. Rather than take apart these pieces, she offers them to us to "do over!"

As you can see, the piece is made of components with a lot of potential. One might say, "Endless Possibilities!"  There are a ton of Swarovski crystals, and some cute butterflies. Check back on April 21 to see what I have come up with. 

Click here to see what others came up with.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hopeful Signs!

Lest anyone think that we are sitting here covered in snow, March has worked its magic and here are some pictures I took two days after my last Focus on Life post.

Ice still on the ponds, but it's going fast...

Maples starting to bloom.

Willows turning yellow, next stop, green.

Crow on the offensive against......

Cooper's hawk sitting on a nest!

Cress fed by a bubbling spring.

Okay, these are in my kitchen, and came from the store, but ain't they pretty?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Fling Kit Challenge

The other day I was visiting some of the blogs I follow, and came upon a picture I just could not resist.  And a blog challenge came with it! 

 Check back here on April 20, and see what I make of this!

I mean a purple dragonfly and coordinating beads? The Spring Fling Kit Challenge is co sponsored by Alenka from Pepita Handmade, and Amy from AmyBeads. Alenka made the amazing dragonfly focal, and Amy is responsible for the beads. I can't wait to get started on my kit, which arrived today!

Focus On: "It's a Wrap!"

The End of Winter (we hope!)

This week's photo prompt from Sally Russick and Focus on Life, is All Wrapped Up. Here are some of the definitions she gives us for "wrap:"
6. To envelop and obscure.
7. To surround or involve in a specified quality or atmosphere: The plan was wrapped in secrecy.
8. To engross.
9. To put on warm clothing. Usually used with up.
10. To conclude filming.

It's still winter on the calendar, and yes we got a winter storm yesterday and today. But at least where I live, it was a kinder gentler winter storm. Here are a few of my gardening accessories and plants waiting patiently for their wrappings to be removed....

6. To envelope and obscure

7, To surround or involve in a specified quality or atmosphere: The plan was wrapped in secrecy. 

8. To engross.
9. To put on warm clothing. Usually used with up.

10. To conclude filming.

Bye bye, winter. Hope to conclude filming you soon!
To see how others interpreted this prompt visit The Studio Sublime.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Focus on: A Knock on the Door!

What's behind door number 1? 

Sally Russick from The Studio Sublime has been giving us prompts for a couple of months now, to help us explore our photography skills and sensitivity. This week's prompt is "Knock, Knock."

Here's what Sally writes: 

 Let's open some doors to see what awaits us on the other side.

Is it a door that holds opportunity?
A door that holds a story?
Is it a door you have been hesitating to open?
Is a gate to a new life?
A door to a new adventure?
Is it a door that holds a memory?
Is it the perfect door for a simple picture?

You have arrived at the door for a reason, open it up and step in

Well, see, here's the thing. I included several shots of doors in last week's post. I still have some that I didn't use. Should I use them? Part of my personal approach to this project is to make new pictures for each week's prompt. Hmm, I combined a little of each, and came up with this. 

Are we going in? Nope, you are going to have to use your imagination here......

I will, however show you the same door, and the rest of the building on a sunny day. It's an old cold cellar on our property, and my grandmother used to store produce and canned goods there years ago. And it's always been a little spooky to me!

 You can follow the action on Sally's blog.