Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Beading Muse and New Techniques

The first weekend in October I got a wonderful opportunity to go up to Baltimore and meet Robin Atkins in person. I had one of her bead embroidery books before I first heard of the Bead Journal Project. In May of 2007 Robin had the wonderful idea for this project and I was lucky enough to have heard of it in time to join the first year.

The Bead Journal project was were Robin and I first met through each other's blogs and then through e-mails. We liked each other's work and although our work is very different in many ways we are very much alike. (From the picture you can see we both love purple.)

When I found out that robin was coming to Baltimore to teach for the Embroidery Guild I was so excited and wanted to go so that we could meet, I could take her classes and anything else I could do.

I went up on Thursday so that we could meet and bead together. I met her and her hostess Carolyn Everly at Carolyn's house where we played show and tell, talked and beaded. This was the first time I had met someone that I had met online and it was an amazing experience for me. Robin is even more wonderful in person than online.

On Friday we started her 2 day class on Improvisational Bead Embroidery. I got to help set meaning I got to be one of the people to see everything first. Being able to touch and look at all of her pieces in person was just so neat. They look so much better in person. Photos just don't do them justice.

Since I have been doing bead embroidery for about 4 years now I had a good start and having all of her books I had read about the rest of the techniques she was teaching so I had a bit of a head start. There were several techniques or variations that I hadn't tried yet and was excited to try.

Having read Robin's books before I left I was inspired to make a piece while thinking of someone I loved. Sort of a portrait of that person. Since My husband was coming home from deployment in a couple of weeks and I had been thinking of him a lot anyway he was the obvious choice. I picked out a fabric that I loved and that sort of reminded me of him. I decided that I wanted to make something useful that he could use so I chose a box that he could put things into. I made the sides of the box out of EZ-Felt and attached them to the fabric and connected it all together so that I could "work in the round."

I went through my beads, buttons and trinkets to pick out things that felt like possibilities for the piece. The most unusual thing that appealed to me was a slice of wood that Wayne had given to me when he was doing one of his furniture projects. I added a pen drawing of the center of a propeller to it and used acrylic medium to seal it.

On Friday afternoon in the class we got to start our improvisational pieces. Since most of my bead embroidery pieces are representational I usually have to do a fair amount of planning things out at least to start. Working completely improvisationally was new for me and in many ways very freeing. I started with the wood slice and just went from there.

Using some of the techniques and variations of techniques that I was trying for the first time in the class my box looks different than any of my other work but I still have never gotten stuck, when I finish one bit I look through my goodies and something will say "me next" and off we go. I found that I really liked the bugle bead pathways and the short stacks with 8/0s or 6/0s as the bottom beads. On Sunday when we went to Beadazzled I just had to get more 8/0 and bugle beads as well as some other seed beads for this and future projects.

I worked on this piece on Friday and Saturday during class and both evenings with Robin after class as well as Sunday during the day. As you can see from the photos the piece really came along well in just those first few days. Working this way was very freeing.

I didn't exactly plan for the piece to have quite as much of a patriotic feel as it has turned out but I guess 20 years in the military does color your world. I hadn't worked on the piece for the last couple of weeks but worked on it again some yesterday so it is further along than the pictures show.

While in Baltimore I also met Susan Elliot who is also a BJP member as well as all of the other students there. It was a wonderful weekend and so fun and fulfilling and getting to meet and talk to Robin was the best part.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Welcome Home

First a welcome home to VC-6's Echo Platoon. I realize that none of them will probably ever see this it is good to have them all home safe and sound. All of these guys either extended or went back to do an important mission and I am proud of them all.

I am sorry I have been so long in writing it has been an interesting month. I spent 5 days up in Baltimore at it's beginning getting to meet Robin Atkins and the Baltimore Embroidery guild. I took Robin's classes and ran her store for her. We also had time to sit and bead together which was great. I will write more about that in a post tomorrow.

The next week saw me spending 27 hours over 3 days in vehicles. I went up to New England with some friends for another friend's wedding. The wedding was nice and I wish Wayne could have been there for it. I spent a lot of my time in the car working on my October BJP piece.

I spent the first half of the month running errands, going out of town, teaching a couple of classes and when I was actually home trying to get ready for Wayne to come home. On the 15th of October we all went up to Baltimore's airport for the Welcome Home. The second half of the month has mostly been spent being together and then getting ready for a party at our house to welcome everyone home. Wayne has spent a good part of his workday working from home meaning on the computer writing up awards, evaluations and all of the other paper work that needs doing.

Anytime he comes home it takes me a bit to get used to having someone else around. I spend months alone only seeing other people when I go out and then I have him home and it takes a bit to readjust to that. I am very glad but I have found it hard to keep up with my blogs, e-mails and my art. I have not done much in the way of creating, I did get my October BJP done and spent time yesterday working on a piece that I am making for Wayne which you can read about in tomorrow's post about meeting Robin.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting Close

The headaches and sore neck and shoulders have left me a bit out of sorts lately and I have been pretty bad about keeping up on anything except creating, most of my energy has been going there. That being the case I have fallen behind in everything else. The good news is the headache seems to be getting much better and so I am feeling more like myself which is really nice.

The great news is that in about 2 weeks or so I will have Wayne home. With about 18 of the last 24 months apart I am ready to have him around for a bit. The next few months will be busy but that is to be expected with several small trips planned and job hunting and trying to get ready for a potential move come spring or so.

My trip to the DC Bead Museum was a bit of a mixed blessing. I was disappointed in that they didn't have enough space to display all of the pieces that got into the show and neither of mine were on display. This meant that my pieces couldn't be voted on for people's choice nor did anyone get to see them. I am glad that I went because I got to see a couple of people I had met in Philly at the Bead Fest and got to meet some of the members of the Baltimore Bead Society which I may want to join especially if we end up staying in the area. I got a lot of really positive comments on my butterfly necklace and my Dragonfly purse.

The next couple of weeks will be busy for me and I won't have too much time to get wired about homecoming coming up. I am spending a long weekend this weekend in Baltimore. Robin Atkins who started the Bead Journal Project is coming to Baltimore to teach a couple of classes and give a presentation about the BJP. I get to be her teachers assistant. I am so excited since it will be my first time to meet her and I have been looking forward to seeing her. Should be a good time.

Next weekend I am heading up to New England with a friend for another friends wedding. Had hoped that Wayne would make it home for it but it wasn't to be. Should be fun since I will get to see some friends I haven't seen since we moved down here.

Add to those 2 trips my 4 classes that are scheduled (if they hold) and more physical therapy and I shouldn't be bored. Might actually have to do a bit of cleaning and straightening before he gets home as well.

My BJP collage is coming along. I spent time stitching the waterfalls on the mountain and am currently working on my tree trunk. I am spending a lot of time on all of the stitching on the collage but am still excited about it and loving the way it is turning out. Have not gotten bored with it. I started October's block a bit early as I wanted to take it with me this weekend so I could start on it. I spent time on the painting so that I am ready to start adding beads and stitching. If you want to see how it is going check it out on my BJP blog.

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website
BJP Website (my 2007-8 pieces)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Doctor, PT and catching up

The last week has been pretty busy, I have taught a couple of classes and have another one tomorrow. Very few of my classes held during the summer but then a lot of the classes at the store didn't hold during the summer. I did teach one class with only one student and will do another tomorrow, part of my reason for doing it is that I have been spending a lot of time alone and think it is good for me to get out and I think that it will help me get a following in case we end up staying in the area.

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday. She has prescribed Migraine meds but that won't help with my perpetual headache but the physical therapy seems to be helping some and I have four or so more weeks to go before reevaluation. I asked about testing but my blood work this spring covered some of the questions already and since they aren't sinus headaches and I don't have stiffly, snuffly, allergy symptoms allergy testing won't help. I did ask and had confirmed that yes and allergen could be a trigger even if you weren't allergic to it. Thus my headaches from cut grass, smells, etc. I think that besides the muscular/skeletal issues I am having that I am probably also reacting to something seasonal (my guess mold). Hopefully with the PT and fall coming it will go away. The PT has been helping and although still have a constant headache at least they aren't as bad as they were.

I haven't gotten as much done in the last week as I might of liked but have gotten somethings done that I needed to and ran some errands. Not as much creating as I would like but can't have everything all of the time, need more hours in the day or at least a few days of no headaches.

I finally packed most of my stuff for my trip to DC for Saturday night. I decided that I would wear my purple long dress for the event, the hard part was figuring out what piece of jewelry to go with it. I designed a piece to go with it but it is the piece that got into Bead International and I won't see it for a couple of years while it travels with the show. The second best choice would have been the piece that is in the show for DC. Go figure. I knew that I was going to use my Dragonfly Purse. I am taking a couple of necklaces along although I am leaning toward wearing the piece that I made using one of Susan's beads. I am staying in a hotel overnight so I don't have to worry about driving back late that night.

It looks like I still have plenty to keep me busy until Wayne comes home. Robin Atkins is coming to Baltimore to teach and make a presentation about the BJP and I am going up to see her and maybe be her assistant. I am so looking forward to meeting her and Wayne thought it was a great idea since he knows that being around other creative people is good for me.

I also have wedding to go to in Connecticut the weekend before Wayne comes home. I am riding up with a friend and then staying with him and his wife at their place in Rhode Island. It is too bad that Wayne is just going to miss it.

I may end up with classes the 2 days before Wayne comes home. If they hold (and I have had some people express interest) I will not have to worry about having too much time to get all wound up with home coming. With around a month or so left I am glad that I have things to keep my mind occupied.

The photo for this post is my September BJP block for this year. Wayne said it was one of his favorites. The painting was based on one of the photos he took while we lived in Hawaii.

For those who want to know what I have been up to I am including links below to my BJP posts in the order they were written and my web gallery and website.

July 1- A Seed Germinates
July 4- Goals For A New Year
July 7- A Sapling Takes Root In Purple Dirt
July 10- Trying New Techniques/Collaging my World
July 13- How Do I Do It/ It's A Secret
July 16- Like Leaves On A Tree: Plenty Of Ideas
July 19-Painting My World/A Tree Takes Form
July 21- Ever Tree Needs Leaves
July 24-Leafing Out
July 27- The Tree Is Planted And Gets More Leaves
July 30- A Secret Takes Shape
August 2- A Door Takes Form
August 6- Stitching Up A Fern
August 10- Ocean Waves
August 14- Getting To The Roots Of The Matter
August 18- Moss at the Roots of My Tree
August 22- Stitching Grass
September 7- A Mountain Of Strength
September 12- Honu Swimming
September 14- Honu in Beads

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website
BJP Website (my 2007-8 pieces)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Love and Good News

OK I couldn't resist, Wayne sent me this photo of himself that his Chief took of him after they took some group photos. I seldom get pictures of him while he is on deployment so it was kind of nice. He has been such a sweety since I have been sick and not feeling well he has been calling more often to check up on me. It will be so good to have him home again. We have spent a fair amount of time apart in the last 2 years so I am looking forward to having him around. We are in the home stretch, still over a month but it really isn't that long before he will be home and we will be busy with his job hunting and getting ready to join civilian life.

I got really good news on Saturday. 2 of the 3 pieces that I entered in the DC Bead Museum's first Bead contest got accepted. My Crystal Pond: Reflections and my March BJP 2007-8 (On the Beach there are Treasures to be Found) are heading off to DC tomorrow. The Gala Event for this is on the 20th and since they are close by I am going to go up and spend the night and go to the event. That night they are going to announce all of the winners including the pieces that are going to be on display in the museum until sometime in December. Maybe if one of my piece gets chosen for the museum show Wayne will go to the Bead Museum with me. He is very proud of me and said of course I had to go. Guess it is a good thing I didn't let my frustration get the better of me and I didn't take my Pond Necklace apart.

I finished my September BJP block and will get it on my BJP blog in the next day or two. I love how it turned out and it worked together really quickly. I will need all of my extra time not working on my blocks any month I finish early working on all of the hand stitching on the collage and eventually the quilt background as well.

I updated my website (Artistic Kreations and Passions) with more photos of my Sacred Tree BJP and also added the new photos to my Web Gallery (this has all of the photos that I have of my BJP projects).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beads, Travel and Getting Sick.

The last couple of weeks have been eventful and not always in the best ways.  

I went to Philly to Bead Fest and had a blast.  It started on a funny note as I stopped for lunch at a brew pub and got carded, at 2 months before my 41st birthday I thanked the waitress.  I stayed with Roma and her husband Tony and we had a good time.  It was so good to see them and spend the time catching up.  I took two classes.  Both went very well and had great teachers.  I learned how to do the Viking Knit and how to do variations on the Byzantine Chain Maille.  I just need to add a bit more embellishing and my  viking knit will be done and I will include a photo here to share.  As usual I decided to go my own way a bit  and instead of a bracelet I am going to end up with a front part of a necklace that will hang from 2 hooks to a chain (for the back of the necklace).  Never did like to do things the way others do.  The other class I have several sample pieces and will have to decide on what I want to make with any of the variations.  
Two new things this year were Meeting the Teachers Night and the Bead In.  I wore my Pond necklace to the teachers night and got a lot of really positive comments on it, so not subtle but I do love my bling.  I worked on the background for my 2008-9 BJP at the Bead In and took my 2007-8 pages along.  Wow, did not expect the attention I got.  Very positive.  I should have printed up a sheet with all of the pertinent info about the BJP since I explained about it many times.  I also gave out lots of business cards so we will see if anything comes of that.  A couple of the people had heard of the BJP project which was kind of nice.  It was a lot of fun.

The pictures show my treasures from this year.   My main goal was to get beads to  go toward this years BJP so I filled in some colors that I didn't have much range in and would need in 15/0 seed beads (especially browns and greens).  I also got more Silamide thread colors (it is my favorite thread for bead embroidery.)  I was on the look out for flower and leaf beads to use on my blocks for the piece and ended up finding a nice selection to get.  I also got a Chain Maille book and a Chain Maille kit (that is being mailed).  I spent less money than last year and am thrilled with the additions to my horde of beads.  I am still working on getting them worked into my collection.

It appears that my steroids didn't get rid of my headaches since I continued to have them even after the treatment was done.  I ran myself a bit hard during Bead Fest with not enough sleep,  not a great diet and such.  I came home on Monday and was worn out.  Tuesday I had a sick headache all day,  Wednesday was a full blown knock-em out Migraine and then Thursday I was hit hard with a head cold.  The last week I have felt like I got hit head-on by a truck.  I have gotten next to nothing done but rest.  I am slowly showing signs of improving so hopefully will be back up and running soon.  I am now at over 2 months of constant headache but hopefully my appointment tomorrow for Physical Therapy will help some and get me started on at least loosening up all the muscles tightened from the headaches.  I also set up my next doctor's appt.  
Wayne has been calling regularly to check in on me and he is doing fine.  Less than 2 months to go which is great.  He is busy working on his resume and other stuff to get ready so that he can hit the road running when he gets home.  Will not be a boring fall/winter that is for sure.  I am to be his assistant.  At least I don't have to be his secretary  I like the job of personal assistant better.   

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bugs, Headaches and a Trip

The good thin about having a weed/flower garden is that the bugs are happy.  I have seen more than one praying mantis out there ( I like bugs that eat other bugs).  Today when I went out to grab the paper this one was happily munching on a caterpillar on the side walk.  It was too good an opportunity to pass up so I want and grabbed the camera,  so much easier to see on the sidewalk than on the green plants.

I have had several dragonflies again this summer and say a really cool moth this morning as well, took a photo of it too.
I went to the Doctor yesterday and so we are now going to try to do something about them.  The first order of business is to break the current cycle of pain since we can't do much about my other headaches when I am like this.  I think I surprised her when I said that I had a headache for 5 1/2 weeks and yes a headache as in 24/7.  So not normal.  We are starting with a decongestant and a couple of days of oral steroids and no over the counter pain killers.  I am also going to Physical therapy starting Sept 2nd.  The headaches have caused neck and shoulder stress which can be making the headache worse or feeding into the cycle.  She thinks rebounds are part of the problem as well (thus the no pain killers).  

Over all she thinks that I probably have a combination of Migraines and Tension headaches and we are going to work on trying to add to my list of known triggers.  She will probably try me on other drugs to help once we get this one licked.  Most headache meds don't work when you are this far into them.  Hopefully all this will help and then we will be able to try other things to help with the other headaches.  Heck I would be happy if I never had the week + headaches any more.  

The much more upbeat news is that tomorrow I head north to King of Prussia (Philly) for the Bead Fest.  I will get to spend time with Tony and Roma,  take 2 classes and go bead shopping,  yeah!!!!!   It should be lots of fun,  just have to not spend all of Wayne's hard earned money especially since he is getting close to retirement.

Speaking of the light of my life,  he got the extension papers so he will be Retired on Active duty form Jan 1- March 31st.  Once he gets home from Iraq sometime in October he will go into job hunting mode.  For work he will have post-deployment stuff as well as all of the retirement stuff to do.  He thinks he will be able to go on terminal leave as early as December 1 since he isn't planning on taking time off when he gets home since he wants to get right on the job search.  Having been on deployment so much in the last year+ has had the advantage that he has more leave (vacation days) on the books that he won't lose.  Add in house-hunting, job-hunting and other days and it looks like around 4 months,  not bad.  He is doing good and keeping busy as always,  he calls when he has time and e-mails me almost everyday.  His arm is getting better and with some light weights he is getting more of the strength back in it.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Contests and Life

Where to start?   I finally got my act together and entered the beading contest at the DC Bead Museum.  I entered my Crystal Pond: Reflections piece and 2 of my BJP pieces (August and March).  I should hear back by the 3rd of September if any of them got into the show.

I also finally got my act together and got my photos and stuff and sent them into the BJP website angel Brenda.  She got it all done and so now you can see all of my pieces for the 2007-8 BJP project on the BJP website.

On Saturday I went to Bead Boutique for the contest voting and for supper out with the girls.  There were 8 pieces.  My macrame piece was in a 3 way tie for 2nd place.  They are now on display at the store and they are planning on getting photos of the pieces on their website.  I need to get a list of all my classes that I teach there and photos to their website person so that they will all be available on their website.  

It has cooled down a bit and isn't as humid so I turned off the AC and am trying that.  I think I will be able to go without AC most if not all of this week.  So far it doesn't seem to be making my headache any better or worse.  Last week I managed to get in 5 walks which put me at 20 miles.  I would have walked last evening at dusk as well but that is when the thunderstorm rolled in.  I should have some nice evenings to walk this week.  

Only a week left until my doctor's appointment.  I doubt she will be able to do anything much except set me up for other appointments, tests or something but it will be good to at least have some forward movement and be doing something.  

Wayne called yesterday,  it is always so good to hear his voice.  I feel fairly spoiled since I get to talk to him every week at least once it seems and I have been getting an e-mail pretty much every day.  He is doing well and his arm is healing up and he is regaining some of his strength there.  He has been having some trouble with the squadron since they had their  decommissioning this last week and aren't giving him as much help as he would like.  It looks pretty sure that he will get his 90 day extension to his retirement so he should be in Iraq until sometime in October.  I think he will miss my birthday again and he will definitely be gone for his.

All told life is going on OK.  I could do without the constant headaches since that really eats into what I feel like doing on any day.  I am not getting as much done as I would like but I know that it could always be much worse.

For those who want to know what I have been up to I am including links below to my BJP posts in the order they were written and my web gallery and website.

July 1- A Seed Germinates
July 4- Goals For A New Year
July 7- A Sapling Takes Root In Purple Dirt
July 10- Trying New Techniques/Collaging my World
July 13- How Do I Do It/ It's A Secret
July 16- Like Leaves On A Tree: Plenty Of Ideas
July 19-Painting My World/A Tree Takes Form
July 21- Ever Tree Needs Leaves
July 24-Leafing Out
July 27- The Tree Is Planted And Gets More Leaves
July 30- A Secret Takes Shape
August 2- A Door Takes Form
August 6- Stitching Up A Fern
August 10- Ocean Waves

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website
BJP Website (my 2007-8 pieces)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Macrame and Headaches

Here are the photos of the finished Macramé African Glass Beads Lariat. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I took both of the necklaces to Bead Boutique and on Saturday the customers will get to vote on which piece they like best. There will be no names on the pieces. I just enjoyed the challenge of the project and that I ended up making 2 pieces that I am quite pleased with using beads that I wouldn't have chosen for myself.

I am still living with constant headaches, these seem worse than I remember but I haven't figured out how to get rid of them. They are eating into my productivity. I have a hard time getting much during daylight hours. I am becoming even more of a vampire than Wayne always teases me about being. I was staying up until 2or 3 most mornings but now it is more like 4 or 5 am. I have started doing my walks at dusk since I am not up to getting up early for them. I have done pretty good so far this week with 3 walks. I am trying to pick days when it isn't too humid out at that time. No walks in 80%+ humidity which is more common than I would like. If I walk when it is that hot and humid my head really starts throbbing.

On Tuesday I had lunch with Colleen and then went to Bead Boutique and spent time with them. I also went to Momma Mia with Tricia. It was a fun movie so enjoyed that.

I haven't been getting as much done as I would like but it can't be helped. I am slowly getting more stitching done on my BJP collage. My posts on my BJP blog are now going be covering the stitching and some of the symbolism. The posts will not be coming quite as often now that they are about the stitching which would be slower even without the headaches.

For those who want to know what I have been up to I am including links below to my BJP posts in the order they were written and my web gallery and website.

July 1- A Seed Germinates
July 4- Goals For A New Year
July 7- A Sapling Takes Root In Purple Dirt
July 10- Trying New Techniques/Collaging my World
July 13- How Do I Do It/ It's A Secret
July 16- Like Leaves On A Tree: Plenty Of Ideas
July 19-Painting My World/A Tree Takes Form
July 21- Ever Tree Needs Leaves
July 24-Leafing Out
July 27- The Tree Is Planted And Gets More Leaves
July 30- A Secret Takes Shape
August 2- A Door Takes Form
August 6- Stitching Up A Fern
August 10- Ocean Waves

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

African Glass Beads

It hasn’t been the best week in that I am still having headaches 24/7 but although it slows me down a bit life still goes on. I haven’t been overly motivated to walk because it has been hot and humid and the headaches but still am managing to get in at least 3 walks a week.

Wayne is doing well, keeping busy and getting exercise. He may decide to look into PT to help get his arm back into shape. I am sure it still has lots of healing to do. The Squadron that he is attached to gets decommissioned in a couple of weeks so he is trying to get as much paperwork done before then as he can. He thinks that within a couple of weeks we should hear about his extension, last he heard it was going through channels.

I have been staying home and working on beading and stitching. I got African glass beads from Bead Boutique for their in house contest (employees and teachers) and had created a necklace with beaded beads with one of the 2 sets of beads that I had gotten. The other set I worked on and decided to play with wire work with copper. I haven’t done a lot with wirework so this was a bit outside my normal comfort zone. When I saw the beads copper was one of the things that immediately came to mind so that is where I started. I purchased copper wire, beads and a clasp. I ended up making my own jump rings and head pins. I looked at the color of the african beads and how they felt somewhat primitive and yet the copper seemed to add some elegance to them so thought why not do something unexpected and I pulled out my Jet 2XAB crystals and added them to the piece. As you can see the results were pretty good.
I was never very happy with the first necklace I had made so I took it apart. I think I am going to use the beaded beads in a bracelet and started thinking what else I could try. Since I already had one completed piece I didn’t need to do a second but liked the challenge of beads that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. I decided to try them with macrame so I have started making a lariat using 4 colors of C-Lon Beading cord, 2 colors of seed beads for accents, my 20 African glass beads and 5 clay beads I bought because the colors went together so well. I am alternating working on it and my BJP stitching to change what my hands are doing. I have gotten the first 5 of the 25 large beads that will be included done.

I have also been putting in time stitching on my BJP Sacred Tree collage. I have been working on different areas as the mood strikes me. It is coming a long well although as expected it will take a lot of hours to do all of the stitching that I want to do. The ocean waves are about done although I am thinking if I want to add anything for the foam at waters edge or not.

For those who want to know what I have been up to I am including links below to my BJP posts in the order they were written and my web gallery and website.

July 1- A Seed Germinates
July 4- Goals For A New Year
July 7- A Sapling Takes Root In Purple Dirt
July 10- Trying New Techniques/Collaging my World
July 13- How Do I Do It/ It's A Secret
July 16- Like Leaves On A Tree: Plenty Of Ideas
July 19-Painting My World/A Tree Takes Form
July 21- Ever Tree Needs Leaves
July 24-Leafing Out
July 27th- The Tree Is Planted And Gets More Leaves

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a Week

I can't believe that it has been almost 2 weeks since I have written here. I am keeping pretty busy.

I am trying to average at least 3-4 walks a week right now. I do not enjoying being hot and sweaty. I would love to have summer highs in the low 80's and no higher. Unfortunately summer in southern Maryland is not that cool. Looks like more of the low 90's for a bit again.

Wayne didn't get his stitches out when he had hoped but they did remove them the other day so he is happy about that.

Last week went pretty smoothly and I spent most of my time working on my BJP project for 2008-9, my BJP blog, my website and web gallery.

This week started out pretty good. I met Colleen for lunch on Monday so that was fun. On Tuesday I went to Bead Boutique and visited with Tricia and Kim. I picked up beads and other supplies to participate in an in-house beading contest they are having for employees and teachers. No prize for it but for the voting there will be no names on the pieces so it will be less of a popularity contest than the others have been. I got 2 sets of the contest beads because I had more than one idea. The contest beads are 20 African glass beads that are around 10mm. They are not something I would normally choose so that is a challenge for me. I have been working on the 2 ideas. The first one I did I am not sure I like it and may take it apart and try something else with it. I like how the other one looks although I think I may need to tweak it a bit.

Wednesday I just didn't feel very good, not really sick just kind of icky. It became a very trying day. Wayne had noticed a couple of charges on the Discover when he was looking at our account online. Neither of us had done them so it was time to call Discover. In the process of getting that figured out and phone calls made I checked our other credit card and found fraudulent charges on it as well. Hard to believe they both happened within a week of each other. I am guessing by different people or ways since one was 2 large purchases and the other was quite a few smaller purchases and at least 2 things were shipped to the house with the correct name and address. It was not a pleasant day, lots of phone calls. Everyone was pretty helpful and Discover got a new card to us in 24 hours. Things are settling down with that although I need to make a couple of more calls I think. (oh Joy!)

Creatively this week I have mainly been working on my contest pieces although yesterday I spent some time on my BJP project. It looks like I will have enough to continue posts every 3 days for that blog at least into the first week into August. As the stitching on the collage goes I will have less to blog about.

Marti called and told me she got into a show in Missouri. 265 or so entries and like 45 accepted. Pretty great. She has pieces in 3 shows all opening on the same weekend. I also got good news. My Flower Trellis Necklace (see photos) was chosen to travel with the Bead International exhibit.

For those who want to know what I have been up to I am including links below to my BJP posts in the order they were written and my web gallery and website.

July 1- A Seed Germinates
July 4- Goals For A New Year
July 7- A Sapling Takes Root In Purple Dirt
July 10- Trying New Techniques/Collaging my World
July 13- How Do I Do It/ It's A Secret
July 16- Like Leaves On A Tree: Plenty Of Ideas
July 19-Painting My World/A Tree Takes Form

My Web Gallery- Includes photos of both of my BJP pages and Susan Plager's Graduation.
Artistic Kreations and Passions- my website

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keeping Busy

I have done pretty good so far with Wayne gone. I have spent lots of time working on my 2008-9 Bead journal project and having a blast on it. I have tried all kinds of new techniques and I have gone through lots of ideas and some have been set aside for future projects and others are making their way onto the piece. I have 3 posts so far and will have one coming out every 3rd day for the next month or so. If you want to read more about it go to my AKP Bead Journal Project Blog. The photo above is a full sized sketch of the piece in progress. I still need to work more on the sketch but I can do plenty of work before I need to finalize the ideas for the monthly blocks. I have photos of the project on My Web Gallery and my Artistic Kreations and Passions website.

Besides working on my BJP project I have been writing posts for my BJP blog, updating my website and web gallery, and taking photos of everything. I have not been bored.

Last week I only walked 2 times but this week I have already walked 3 times. I am trying to watch what I eat as well. I am trying to get better about exercising and eating healthfully. I think I am starting to get back into the grove of being on my own again.

I have gotten a couple of calls from Wayne, he is doing well and hopes to get his stitches out near the end of the week. He has started exercising again being careful not to overdue it, no rowing machine or weight lifting that is for sure. Although it is plenty warm in this location he says the nights are cooler.

I am going to go to Bead Fest in Philly in August again and have signed up for 2 classes. One is wire work (viking knit) and the other is chain maille. Should be fun and I will get to see Roma and her husband Tony again. I will also be looking for beads for my BJP so that will be great.

That is about it, as busy as I am keeping it still only takes a few paragraphs to write about it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Overdue Update

I am so sorry that this has been so long in coming. I must admit the last couple of months and all of the coming and going has gotten the better of me, I feel like I have lost track of something, quite possibly my mind.

What was supposed to be a 10 day trip for Wayne ended up being 2 weeks due to a broken plane. He ended up home only 5 days before he was off to Iraq again. We don't know if it will be 2 or 3 months or as screwed up as everything had been who knows maybe longer. It will only be 2 months unless they approve an extension he has requested. His official retirement date is Jan 1, 2009 and with all of his terminal leave (vacation etc.) that means he could be done as early as Sept 10th. Since they may need him to run things there or to run support back here they will probably approve it.

During the 5 days home he had surgery to remove skin cancer on his arm. It was more involved than he expected and the first time I saw it, it looked like a small shark had attacked him. Loads of stitches that he will have for 2 more weeks (surgery was a week ago). The rest of the time was spent on post and pre-deployment doctors appointments, getting gun qualifications, paperwork, and packing. We had the weekend for just us but that was about it. He left for Iraq yesterday, it was a bit anti-climatic for me since they left here on Thursday for some training and to pick up gear.

Now it is time to figure out my life for this summer. The one area that hasn't suffered is my creativity. I swear without it sometimes I would go nuts. I have been putting in lots of time working on my Sacred Tree for my BJP project for 2008-2009. Officially it doesn't start until September but since mine is going to include so much more than the monthly blocks I need a head start. The whole thing is going to be a quilt/mixed media collage with painted and beaded blocks. The entire piece is going to be a sort of self-portrait or things that are sacred, important, or symbolic of who I am. If you are interested I am going to start blogging about it today. I will include a lot of information on my creative process, different techniques I am trying, my goals, and all of the symbology of the piece. I already have put enough time into the project that I have enough info for several posts so I will try to write about 2 times a week on it until I catch up at least. It will be on my BJP Blog. I have also started a new album in My Web Gallery for the piece and if you don't want to wait for my blog to catch up you can see my photos of the progress of the piece there, I will update it as I get new photos.

Although I have felt very self-indulgent since Wayne left I have gotten an amazing amount of creating done in that time. I didn't walk the first 4 days he was gone but have gone out the last couple of mornings so am trying to get back on track there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Changes in my World

It has been a long time since I have written and a lot has happened since then. Wayne and I drove to Athens, Ohio and met Wayne's folks to go to the opening night of Bead International at the Dairy Barn. It was a lot of fun and I got to wear my Pond necklace for the first time. I got lots of complements for both my piece in the show and my pond necklace. We all had a really good time and seeing all of the wonderful pieces of bead work and basketry was very inspiring. I really enjoyed seeing some of the pieces that were not jewelry since I am planning to explore more bead work that is not jewelry. Saturday morning we went back to the gallery to take some photos and chat with people more.

At this point we split up and Wayne and his Dad headed to Dayton to view the Air Museum and then on to the track event at Mid-Ohio. Marti and I headed to Louisville for some creative play time. The guys had a lot of fun and us girls got a lot of creative work done. I spent most of my time either helping to figure out where Marti should go on her art quilts and how to improve them and getting her help working on the ideas for my next years Bead Journal project. We even dyed some silk fabric that she had to be the overall background for my piece, she also gave me some other treasures to use on my piece and to play with for other projects.

During the time we were in Louisville I went twice to her Wednesday Stitchery group which is always a good time and they got to see my purses and my Bead Journal pages for 2007-8. I also got to see and help with creative input on a couple of her Art Quilt friends, it was so great to be involved with all of the creative process both with my pieces and others.

The bad news during this time was that my Uncle Earnst Throne died. He has been fighting cancer for a while. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends.

All four of us headed up to Palatine (Chicago area) to visit with Wayne's brother Doug's family for our niece's graduation. We got their on time on Friday so that we could see Susie all dressed up for her Prom. If you would like to see more pics of Susie all dressed up for prom and those from her graduation go to my Web Gallery. The weekend was full of good food and time with family which was a lot of fun.

From there we headed back to Louisville for a couple more days and then it was time to head home. I brought quite a few small projects along to work on and got 5 necklaces made another one started and some small pieces that will go into some future piece worked on. Combining that with the work I got done on the idea stage of my BJP project and it was a pretty productive trip.

We got back on Thursday and Wayne went to work on Friday and then on Saturday he was off for a short trip to Iraq. We also found out that he will be going back to Iraq this summer for 2-3 months. Looks like I get to spend most of this summer alone as well. At least I have a long list of projects to work on and won't get bored. I think being creative has been my saving grace during all of my time as a Navy wife. I have no trouble keeping myself busy and I usually get tons done while he is gone.

Since being home I have shipped Wayne off, unpacked and gotten things picked up and put away, did some cleaning up, worked on class instructions for 2 classes, and worked on a couple of smaller beading projects. I have also spent some time reading just for me. I have gone walking a couple of times and hope to get back into the habit and back on track with watching what I eat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Good News and The Not So Good News

Starting with the good news I got first and second place ribbons at the Southern Maryland Quilt and Needlework exhibit at Sotterley Plantation. My Dragonfly purse got first and my Iris purse got 2nd. I didn't have any competition in the bead work category. It still was great and I got good critiques from the judges and the people in charge said I got lots of good comments so it was a positive experience.

We leave in a couple of days for our trip to Bead International, Mid Ohio Track for Wayne, and time spent with Wayne's folks and his niece's graduation. I have gotten most of my stuff ready to go including the important stuff like jewelry and purses and projects to work on. The back of the car will also be full of track tires and tools for Wayne's 2 days on the track. I am sure we will have a good time. I still have some things to do before we leave but things are coming together pretty well.

The not so good news is that shortly after we get back Wayne will be heading back to Iraq. It is not really bad news since he won't be gone too long, actually he will be going twice in just a couple of months. I should be able to get a fair amount done while he is gone each time and since I have to get my journals and cards done for my BJP pages it won't be all bad.

I am looking forward to our trip, it should be a good time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

12 Pages Finished

As hard to believe as I find it I have finished all 12 of my BJP pages and have them hanging on the wall. It has been an amazing journey and I have learned an amazing amount in the last year. I have played with techniques and supplies that were new to me. I have found out how much I enjoy combining my bead work and photography. The pages have turned out to be far more of a journal of my personal growth in the last year than I ever expected them to be. If you want to read more about my journey in the last year visit my AKP Bead Journal Project Blog for more pictures visit my Artistic Kreations and Passions website, my web gallery, or the BJP section of my website all which have been updated. I have named all of the pieces individually and I still have work to do. I still need to put all of the information on the backs of the pieces, make the cards that go into the backs for November-May and make the journals for the November -May pieces.

I have other things I need to do in the week and a half or so before we leave to go to Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. I have class supply lists and instructions to write up for the classes I will be teaching at Bead Boutique in June. I need to get photos to them as well to go with the list of classes for their website. I need to get photos of my BJP pages to a few different places as well.

It has been kind of strange weather around here and we had pretty stormy weather this weekend. We lost the top of a tree but Wayne got it all cut up and it didn't do any damage. We last power for a few hours Sunday night but it came back. Today the Sun finally came out again and I went for a walk which I am still not being very good about.

This weekend I will be going to the Sotterley Plantation to see the Quilt and Needlework exhibit that will have 2 of my purses in it. Wayne is probably going to go with me since we have never toured the plantation. I have only been there once and it was just to drop off my pieces. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of work is in the show.

I also need to think about what all I want to pack for the trip. I need to pick out what of my beaded jewelry I want to take along and then pick outfits to go with. I will also be taking my BJP pages so that Marti can see all of them finished. I also need to pack up some projects to take along to work on. I am also thinking my sketchbook to work on ideas for next years BJP. I need to take the time to flesh out the ideas some.

I would also like to send out congrats to my friend Susan who won a contest for one of her lamp work beads. You can see her website and some of her wonderful beads at her website Insanity Beads. You can also see some my necklaces using some of her beads here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I am still in kind of a strange place mentally but I think part of that is the drawing in before a change. I know that the change is coming and part of me is resisting and another part is focusing inward. It means that I haven't gotten somethings worked on that I should have and I spent four days in a row spending most of my time reading and not getting much else done.

Wayne left last Sunday and will be back this Friday. He is currently in San Antonio doing some kind of exercise with the army. It means we will be apart for our anniversary (May 5th) but the week after he gets back we are going to go up to Baltimore for a couple of days and go to two Red Sox games and see a map exhibit. Maybe not to romantic but it should be a blast.

I have not been very good about watching what I eat or going for my walks. I don't think I am going to lose my 5 lbs for April and May but I am sure once Wayne gets home he will help give me a kick in the pants and help me get motivated again. I went for my first walk in over a week today. It looks like tomorrow is supposed to be slightly cooler and nice so I may try to be good and go again.

The photo is of the start of my Crystal Iris. I was considering using it in an entry for Swarovski's contest this year but couldn't decide exactly where I wanted to go with it. I decided not to do an entry this year. I have been undecided for a while and finally decided that I just wasn't in the right place at this time. It is kind of a relief to not have to worry about it any more. Maybe next year I will consider it but for this year no.

I went out to lunch with my friend Colleen on Tuesday, we hadn't seen each other for a while so it was good to see her. I also went to Bead Boutique and gave them some samples for some new classes so I should be back on the schedule for June. On Friday I made a couple of new pieces to send with my entry for Bead International. I was allowed to send up to 5 extra smaller pieces to offer for sell in their Gallery shop. They are now all on their way to Ohio. Besides mailing those off on Saturday I also went to the Sotterley Plantation, they have a yearly Quilt and Needlework exhibit and they accept bead work in the Needlework. I decided to enter two of my purses (my Iris purse and my Dragonfly purse) I considered trying to enter my BJP pages but wasn't sure how it would work. I have never been to the show yet. maybe if we are still here next year I will consider entering them.

Today I have been trying to do a bit of catch up writing in my blogs, updating my web gallery and if I have time make a few updates to my website as well. It all takes time. I also need to catch up on e-mails. I have been reading them but am overdue for replying to a number of people, eek!

My idea for my 2008 BJP is starting to gel and I am kind of excited about that. It will be different than this years but I am sure will provide many new challenges. I think that I am very glad that I have the summer between the two years. I need to finish all of my cards and journals for the 2007 BJP and will need to work on figuring out more about my 2008 project. Once I have the idea further along I will put a post up for it (probably in my BJP blog)

Thanks for all of the support and comments, it helps that you are all out there and so wonderfully supportive.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Day

The photo is a closeup of my March page for my Bead Journal Project. It was a fun and relatively quick page to do. It took me 9 days from start to finish which for me is a quick page.

At this point I am nearing the finish of my April page and then it will be time to start the last page for this year. It has been an interesting year and it is hard to believe it is almost over. Luckily we are doing it again. I have been working on trying to figure out what I want to do for the next year. I think I am glad that I have until September to figure it out. My problem isn't lack of ideas it is way to many and trying to figure out what ideas are beadable. I am seriously thinking of the idea of Sacred Trees but that still leaves me with so many directions that I could go in that I am at a loss. I have been reading some books on the mythology and history of Sacred Trees, it has been fascinating and very educational. I am thinking that I may do a series of pieces on the theme and not all of them would be beaded.

I have been in kind of a fog lately, I feel terribly out of focus and not overly motivated. The good news is that beading and creating art are so ingrained in who and what I am that I still work on that even in my down times. Maybe doing my March page so quickly took it out of me. My guess is that I am just at a recharging time and it will pass. It always does.

I got unhappy news, my Pond Necklace did not get into Bead Dreams. Who knows why, these things are very subjective and a less than stellar photo can do you in as well as other things. Wayne did not find it very funny when I threatened to cut the piece up. Being moody and getting bad news do not go well together. I am glad that I have Bead International to look forward to. I need to get my piece ready to mail off for that. I am really looking forward to going to the opening night for that. Getting to see all of the pieces in person will be sooooo cooool!

Wayne will be leaving me for about 12 days starting on Sunday. He is going off to San Antonio to do some military exercises of some sort. The only bad thing is that he will be gone for our anniversary. I guess I will just have to buy myself something nice.

I went into Bead Boutique last week since I need to see about getting back on the schedule to teach some classes, I got some beads to make up a few new samples and have gotten 3 made since then. I will try to get some photos taken and up of them. My favorite is a single spiral rope chocker that is also the perfect length to go around my wrist twice. I need to get back there and give them the new samples and maybe get some more beads.

This week has also seen another 3-D Iris out of crystal come into being. I have got the main flower part done but am not sure what I want to do with it now. I was thinking of doing the piece for the Swarovski contest but am not sure I want to give it up, would have to figure out what to do with it first anyway. Guess we will see.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Crystal Pond; Reflections

If you don't like bling this piece definitely would not be the piece for you to wear. I got my Crystal Pond; Reflections collar done and photographed in time to enter it in to Bead Dreams for this year. I also entered my July BJP page since the entry fee included up to 2 entries.

I am quite pleased with how the whole thing turned out. There were things that didn't turn out how I expected or that had to be shifted to work with way the circles were connected. It was really interesting to see how the weight distribution effected the look of the piece as the circles changed to different shapes.

In the sun shine the necklace really comes alive and you feel the reflections glistening all the way through you.

The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy trying to get this piece finished, photographed, and entered; a series of doctors appointments; and getting a start on my March BJP.

I am officially down 20 lbs from where I was in August. I don't know that I can tell that much but others have said they could tell. I seem to be keeping at loosing about 5 lbs every 2 months which is a good rate and if I can keep it up I would be thrilled.

The doctors appts have gone well. My cholesterol and blood sugars are good, I had a couple of borderline blood pressure readings so we will have to keep an eye on it but the walking and loosing weight should help with that some. Everything else seems to be good.

It has been fairly grey lately but we are getting some much needed rain. After the drought we can use the rain.

Friday Wayne and I headed toward DC so that we could order some seats for the Integra to make them more comfortable and more importantly better for Wayne when he does his driving events. We stopped for supper on the way home and then went to Trader Joes in DC to buy some wine and beer. On the way home we drove by all of the cherry trees in bloom. Wow, they are pretty. I am glad that we aren't doing it on the weekend though since I am not that big a fan at doing stuff like that with thousands of people, just not calming at all.

Exciting news for the Bead Journal Project, Pink Moon Hallow designed a wonderful web site for us. It is looking great and all of the participants who have finished 8 or more pages will get a page of their pieces on the website. Need to get my photos figured out so I can send them to her. We will also be doing another year of the Bead Journal Project which will start in September of 2008. We will have a new BJP Blog for 2008. If anyone is interested in joining the new year with us please checkout the website for the registration information on how to sign up for it. The deadline is August 15. I know I am going to do it. It will be an interesting year since sometime during it I will be moving. I have grown so much as an artist doing this and have made some wonderful friends and been endlessly inspired by all of the very talented artists.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pond Pleasures

I have been keeping busy the last couple of weeks since I wrote last. I got the house cleaned up before Wayne's folks got here for their visit. Most of it just needed doing but there is so much I would rather be doing than cleaning.

Wayne's folks came on a Friday and left the next Wednesday morning. We had a great visit. Everyone got to catch up. We went for several walks, saw some of the first ospreys for the year, and enjoyed plenty of good food and wine. Marti and I took some time for creating. I taught her to make collage and then we played at embellishing them. I need to finish a few of them up and then see about getting them onto cards but that will have to wait for a bit.

I will be updating my BJP blog finally getting my finished February page onto it. I finished the page on the 2nd of March so it was only a little behind. I haven't started March's page yet but it will have to wait until I get my Pond necklace done.

I updated the BJP part of my Artistic Kreations and Passions website as well as the Works in Progress section. I also added the new photos for my Web Gallery.

On the creative front the Pond necklace is still coming along nicely. I have all (I think) of the pieces made and now it is a matter of connecting it all together. I started on that Saturday and it is working the way I thought it would. The shape will change a bit as all of the pieces are attached together but I am very happy with the process so far. It is always pretty exciting when something comes together as you expect it to.

Wayne is taking his Transition Assistance Program this week so lots of information to help prepare him for leaving the Navy and joining the civilian world. At this point we haven't decided for sure where we want to live so there are lots of opportunities and places we could go. My hope is it will have at least one good bead store nearby. (Got to keep my priorities straight.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Flowers Come to Life

I took about 2 weeks off from walking due to being sick and bad weather but started again on Monday. I walked 15 miles this week, not sure if I will walk tomorrow or not.

I spent this week working on my February BJP page. I should be able to finish it today or tomorrow depending on how fast the next bit goes. Then it is time to get back to my Pond piece for a bit. I am really excited how my BJP page is turning out. I am adding a post to my blog on it today and after I get it finished and more photos taken I will update it again. I included some of my "Treasures" to the piece and will add a few to next months page as well. Read about my "Treasures" on my BJP blog.

The photos are of my 3-D Iris that will be going on my Pond piece. I used some of my many Iris photos as inspiration and after an initial trial attempt that didn't quite work, I reworked my "pattern" a bit and ended up with this. I used wired along the edges of the petals for shaping and the brown in the upper photos is the electrical tape that I used to wrap around the all of the wires. A bit of peyote and a green seed bead mix and I had a stem.

The Iris petals are made with RAW (right angle weave) using seed beads and 3mm crystals. I love the challenge of trying to figure out how to do something once I decide I want something. I have learned a lot of new things by saying this is what I want to have now how do I make that happen. After I finish my Feb. BJP in the next day or so I will see about getting back to work on my pond piece and see what I can get started.

Wayne's folks are coming for a visit next weekend and I also need to spend some time getting the house in order. Need to do some cleaning and organizing that need to be done anyway. I also have a request for Gumbo so I need to get out my recipe and do some shopping. Can't blame them for that request, although our gumbo varies some every time we (I) make it, with out a doubt it is some of the best I have had except when we visited New Orleans.

Wayne has been busy doing car maintenance, he will be doing more this weekend. He also wants to get the Integra some stuff so that he can take it onto a race track. The man is a complete car nut. His hobbies are more expensive than mine I will have to say. He can't give me too hard a time for buying beads when he is going to be spending more on parts for his car and track time isn't exactly cheap either but it makes him happy and that is what life is all about, finding things that make you happy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Visit to the Pond

I was looking at what I had accomplished this year with beading and realized that most of my energy had gone into my Bead Journal Project pieces and I hadn't worked on any other larger pieces that might be appropriate for the Bead Dreams contest this year. I do like the challenge of making pieces for the contests and it is a thrill to get into them. This year Bead Dreams has added a category for Crystal Jewelry and since I am probably not going to enter Swarovski's Design contest this year and I have lots of Crystals since I enjoy lots of bling I thought I would see what I could come up with for that.

After some brain storming sessions with Wayne and a lot of trying to figure out how in the world to do some of it the Pond Necklace was born. Still very much in the idea and design mode I still have things I need to figure out how to do. These photos are just showing some of the very basic idea. All of the water will be made of crystal circles and there will be lily pads and flowers. I am also working on making an Iris out of seed beads and crystals.

The piece needs to be finished, photographed and entered by April 4th which means that I need to get my act in gear and get going on it. It will be a challenge to keep my BJP pages mostly on track and get this project finished. I think that my cards and journals for the pages will be late but hopefully I can keep the pages mostly on time.

Wayne is mostly better health wise and has spent most of this weekend 3+days out in the garage working on all kinds of things on the car. I get called out once in a while to help by stepping on the brakes or whatever else he needs. I so could not do all of this car stuff myself.

I have managed to catch the ickiness Wayne had but so far it is not near as bad as his was. It is slowing me down but hasn't completely laid me to waste like it did to him.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Life is a Layer Cake

Here is a hint of what I have been doing creatively lately. It is funny, as far as I feel behind in everything else I have kept up on my BJP pages and have February well in hand. Now, if I could just catch up on the rest of life.

I spent time taking photos of my November - January pages and got them organized on the computer. I updated my "Artistic Kreations and Passions" website, updated the photo albums in the Bead Journal Project section of my website and updated the my Web Gallery that you can access through my website (It has most of the photos I have taken of my BJP pages and is a cool way to look at them.)

I need to take the time to update my BJP blog and will try to start getting the last few months written up in the next few days but we will see.

Wayne has managed to get the Flu and is home today. He is all feverish and feeling pretty bad so we are both hoping I will manage not to catch it. Usually if he catches something I will since his immune system is stronger than mine.

I am slowly trying to figure out a routine that works for me. With Wayne home it changes things up. So far I have managed to get back into walking, the route I take is just over 5 miles and takes around 1 1/2 hours to do. The plan is 4-5 times a week. Since I started working on getting healthier in August (6 months ago) I have lost 15 lbs. I can't say I can really tell the difference and I still don't think exercise makes me feel any more energetic but I am sure it is making me healthier.

With Wayne home we are starting to talk about what is next for us. He officially retires from the Navy on 01 January, 2009. Terminal leave etc, should take us into October so hopefully next fall will see us starting our post-military life. We have spent time taking about what some our options are and trying to figure out some of our priorities. We really don't have a place we definitely want to end up. I am sure it will be a lot of figuring things out and researching to be able to compare different options based on taxes, recreational opportunities, and long term cost of living etc, etc, etc..

I still have plenty of catching up to do but part of that is house work and organizing so it will happen when I get to it, other things are slowly getting marked off on my to-do list.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Playing Catch-up

It has been a very long time since I have updated my blog and I have been keeping pretty darned busy the whole time. Now I am spending time playing catch-up, I am so far behind on life and all of the things that "need" to be done.
I spent two weeks over Thanksgiving with Wayne's folks. It was wonderful to see them and we drove up to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with Wayne's brother Doug and family. Also included in the 2 weeks were a trip to Bernheim Forest where Marti had some of her art quilts in a show, going to her stitchery group and getting to share my BJP pages, meeting one of her friends who beads and time spent working on my November BJP page. I hadn't started it when I got there but managed to finish it before I left. I borrowed a few goodies to help with the page and got some good advice and feedback. It is fun having another artist around to bounce ideas off of. I think we are going to try to work on some collaborative pieces once things settle down a little bit and I catch up.
It seems that every time I go to Iowa for very long in December they have lots of bad weather. OK it is December in Iowa, what am I expecting? I managed to sneak into Iowa between and ice storm and some snow. Still not sure how I managed to time it so well but got lucky. wintry weather not withstanding we managed to be on the go a fair amount. Mom and I did lots of Christmas shopping, made 4 trips to visit my Grandmother (at 104 I try to see her anytime I get near home), went to see the Rockettes' Christmas show in Des Moines, saw 2 other musical programs, picked up (and return) my sister Betsy and David for Christmas with them, a trip to Lincoln, NE to switch out dining room tables with Aunt Barb and Uncle Rog, and have 4 Christmas celebrations (I still had one to go here with Wayne.) We managed to pull all of this off around the weather which included an unusual amount of fog (some that last all day long). While the fog made for some beautiful scenery full of everything covered in hoarfrost (see photo above) it made driving especially after dark unwise. I had a great time at home with my family and managed to get my December BJP page finished and a start on my January page.
The beginning of January was a bit crazy. I left Iowa on Jan 2nd and got home late that night and had a couple of days to get the house straightened up, pick up and go through 6 weeks of mail, pick up boxes of stuff that I had shipped from Iowa as well as boxes Wayne had shipped from Iraq, and get groceries. On Jan 5th I headed back up to the airport and was there for the Welcome home, Wow! Definitely the biggest welcome I had been there for, Baltimore has a large group of volunteers that come to welcome the troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan and it was pretty darned crazy. It would have been more fun if I hadn't come down with a cold the day before and felt a bit tense with end of deployment nerves, I just wanted to go home.
The month of January has been happy and busy, having Wayne home has been wonderful and after a week at home with a couple of days of him going in to work to do some paperwork, we took a week to go up to visit DC. We got lots of exercise walking around DC. We visited the zoo, spent a day walking around the Mall visiting monuments and memorials, visited several museums, went to a couple of free shows at the Kennedy Art center as well as a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and visited the National Cathedral. Wayne even let me go to a bead store. We had good food lots of fun things to do and just enjoyed being together.
Since then we have both been busy trying to catch up on life. I still have paperwork that I need to do, I am behind on my January BJP page and my blogs are seriously behind. I think that it will take awhile for me to catch up on all of the things that I am behind on or just need doing.

Wayne needs to find a temporary Navy job since his squadron is getting decommissioned this summer. After that it is time to concentrate on what he wants to do after the Navy. We have bought him 2 suits as well as shirts, ties etc so that he will be ready once he gets to the interview stage. First it is time to figure out how to convert a Navy onto a resume. I have no idea where we will end up next but hopefully this time next year he will be working for someone and we will be settled in a new place. We could end up staying here or end up somewhere totally different. Should be a very interesting year.