Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Between the Folds

My mother-in-law, who is an artist, tipped me off to this beautiful, beautiful documentary on the art of paper folding, after she found out that the Short One and I have been having fun with origami. This is a gorgeous film. I'm only able to embed the trailer, above, but you can watch the whole thing at PBS through their "Independent Lens" page here.

The sheer visual drama of watching the transformation of a single sheet of paper into something beyond the reach of imagination (my imagination, at least) is fascinating. I know, I know, I'm such a geek. But even if you have no interest in origami, mathematics or engineering, you're going to love this film. Trust me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hall of Shame

In my mind, I've sort of had this pledge to myself that I'd share the good, the bad and the ugly on this blog. Here's some of The Ugly.

I was flipping through my photo log this morning and came across this masterpiece. Seriously, what was I thinking? Perfectly beautiful pieces of faceted solar quartz with bunches of...Stuff. I even submitted this to a couple magazines (I received politer responses than I deserved).

It's sort of like those photos of myself from the 80s - I wince at the clothes (hot pink spandex mini-skirts, anyone?), I avert my eyes, I move on.

Still, we all have those moments, right? I think it's important to remember that we each have our own personal, er, design troughs - and we all get over them, eventually. It's all part of the process.

Anyone else have Hall of Shame stories they'd like to share?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Batman and Robin by the Short One

Batman and Wolverine! Er, I mean, skygrazer/Christy! Christy, please email me at melissa[at] with your contact details, and I will mail out your pendant. Congratulations!

Thanks so much to everyone who played - the Short One had a great time selecting the winner. Actually, it was hard to restrain him from selecting 5-6 more winners, he had such a good time, but unfortunately I only have one prize!

In the meantime, we've moved on at our house from the Super Friends to the Teen Titans (under a bit of parental supervision - I find some of those shows a touch violent for the SO's age) and Batman, the Brave and the Bold. The SO can now recognize the Atom, Martian Manhunter, Booster Gold and Green Arrow on sight. Now, if only he'd apply this enthusiasm to learning to read...

Thanks again. Happy weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kate McKinnon

I thought I'd show off something from my stash today. This Crabby Owl on Branch pendant is part of my personal collection of exquisite Kate pieces. I can't get over how beautifully balanced this thing is. It nestles perfectly comfortably, and upright, on the wearer's breastbone. I believe it's a featured project in one of Kate's upcoming books - have you pre-ordered your copies yet?

(By the way, the incredibly cute but crabby owl bead is by Karen Elmquist. You can purchase her work here.)

This week, Kate is running a new web sale here. It's her practice to continue to add new inventory to her sales, so be sure to check it out periodically. She currently has one of her amazingly cool cocktail rings up in her shop:

Grab it while you can.

Monday, March 15, 2010

De-stashing Again

With spring around the corner, I've decided to start going through my stash of cotton yarns and artisan novelty yarns (much, much smaller than the winter yarns, but still) and list a few things on eBay. One of the items included is a kit to make the above sweater. It's by Prism Yarns, that high-end purveyor of all things "Stuff". As with Koigu kits, I think with Prism Yarn you either love it or hate it, and I love it. I still think this jacket is really attractive. However, even though it's an easy knit, given the circumstances at home, I doubt I'll get around to knitting it up (and it's already been sitting in my closet for several years). Plus, to be brutally honest, do I go anywhere anymore where this type of jacket would be appropriate (and would survive being climbed up by an active toddler)? Err, no. Anyway, if you'd like more information about the kit or other things I have up (including a few leftovers from the last time I destashed), please go here.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Reasons to celebrate

Happy Pi Day! I know you know it's Pi Day today, right? Go on, admit it - it's your favorite holiday - you can't hide it from me. March 14, which here in the US is noted 3/14 or 3.14 - or pi taken out to 2 decimal places (which always makes me wonder - is Pi Day celebrated in countries where March 14th is annotated as 14.3? Just curious).

March 14th is also White Day in places such as Japan, South Korea and I believe one or two other countries. It's one month after Valentine's Day - the day when the boys respond to the girls (traditionally, only girls give out chocolate on Valentine's Day where White Day is also celebrated). So Happy White Day to you, too.

Thanks for all of the kind comments and interesting entries for the Short One's Superhero Giveaway. For those of you who inquired, any superhero is fine! (I love Underdog, myself.)

Without further ado, here are your bead & jewelry links for the week:

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
An inveterate wirer, Jean approaches new things which other designers do with ease verrrry if they might be wild animals! Grrrr! Should she run away? Decide for yourself!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Thinking of selling on Etsy? Read this post, Lorelei has shared some tips from what she's learned along the way.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
When is more, more? When you've got shell pearls and lampwork glass!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Button making turns into jewelry making for Carmi this week! Jewelry Making
Jump rings seem like small items when it comes to jewelry making, but they can cause big problems!

Art Bead Scene
ABS unveils the March Challenge painting - Van Gogh's Almond Blossoms.

Beading Arts
Cyndi has a fabulous Zulugrass bracelet to giveaway this week!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Another favorite song inspires Melanie to make new Heart Window pendants

Strands of Beads
Melissa is giving away one of her floating box pendants this week in honor of her son.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Short One's Superhero Giveaway

The Super Friends, courtesy of The Short One (and Daddy).
This was completely rendered using the touchpad on our MacBook - not bad, eh?
I'm particularly fond of Wonder Woman.
(The skinny dude next to her is Aquaman, in case you were wondering.)

It's been so long since the Short One's actual birthday, I decided to change the theme of the annual giveaway (plus, I think the SO would be insulted if anyone were to suggest that he just turned four - he's been four for a long time now, practically forever, thank you very much).

Superheroes are a big theme here right now, and, to tell you the truth, we're in need of superheroes at the moment. I've been sort of debating all along what to say and not to say about our circumstances right now. This blog is technically part of my home, and of course, I routinely share family stories here. However, this one is rather personal, and it's not really my story to tell - it belongs to my son. That being said, I think I can at least share this much.

The SO ended up having an unwelcome birthday surprise this year. Shortly after he turned four, I took him to his pediatrician for what I thought was going to be a routine physical. However, within a few hours of that visit he had to be admitted to the hospital and by that night he was definitively diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

The SO was Not Happy in the hospital, to put it mildly (and who can blame him?), but the Peds Ward had a lending library of videos to distract the patients. I ended up grabbing every Scooby-Doo movie he hadn't already seen - and I also found a copy of a Super Friends video containing a selection of episodes from one of the original versions of the show (the Legion of Doom series) from the mid-70s.

To say that the SO - who up to that point had not so much as heard the word "superhero" - became immediately obsessed with all things Super Friends-related would be an understatement. We live and breathe superheroes night and day right now. We have serious conversations about the fact that "Lex Luthor is Superman's anemone" and its implications. We discuss in intricate detail options for this year's Halloween costume (curiously enough, Robin seems to be winning so far). We develop long and involved hypotheses concerning what kind of pet accompanies Aquaman (since Superman has Krypto and Batman has Ace the Bathound, after all).

And we love it. Despite the irony, I can't think of anything better in which to have the SO's imagination wrapped up than strong characters who are always brave in the face of adversity (even if they do wear their undergarments on the outside) as he goes through this major life change.

Which brings us to this giveaway. Here's the prize:

As you can see, my floating box pendant has no relation to superheroes, sadly (although I suppose you could say that the sea glass is sort of a kryptonite green, eh?). I had this in mind from last year as the prize for the SO's giveaway - mostly because I designed this pendant originally for my mother, who wanted something reminiscent of a locket that could contain the SO's photo. This version has a shallow square bezel on the back in which you can paste a photo.

Now the SO always gets a kick out of selecting the winner of these contests, so I thought that, to make it more fun for him, I'd have a new rule for this year. In order to enter, you must let the SO know who your favorite superhero (or supervillain, we are equal opportunity on this point) is in your comment below this post. Comments which do not meet this requirement will not be entered in the giveaway. I'm sure he will be tickled to see which hero (or villain) wins the contest. (Me, I'm rooting for Batman.)

My other usual rules apply. If you leave a comment using the "Anonymous" option (ie, if you are not registered with Blogger), be sure to write your name at the bottom so I know who entered. You must return to the blog at the end of the contest to see if you won - I will not contact the winner by email.

The contest will end on Saturday, March 20th. I will post the name of the winner at that time with instructions on how to claim the prize.

Thanks for continuing to check in with me - I appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rube Goldberg Machine

Not many things have been able to make me laugh these past couple weeks, but this video did. If you have any passing interest in Rube Goldberg machines at all, you should take a look at this video. It doesn't hurt that OK Go is one of my and my husband's favorite bands.

Things are settling down over here into a new normal. I should be back on the blog wagon next week. I hope everything has been going well in your lives. I miss you guys.