Friday, January 25, 2013

Officially 'Stumped'

On the path of discovery in this, my bead mania and jewelry obsession, I found that being able to work in metals delighted me on many levels. The hammers, the files, the feel of cold metal as yet unformed, unmarked beckoned to me to leave my mark, to make it personal.

Enter the tree stump.  A tree stump is perfect for pounding away, creating textures, work hardening, forming and bending metals to fit the imagination.  Reading about one somewhere once, I had determined that it was just what I needed, given that anytime I tried to pound on the work table, everything would jump and rearrange itself.  I have been patiently waiting for just the right one to present itself. (Literally, as in a *present*)

A couple of months ago, while walking the dogs, we meandered by a house built about 1920.  In the front yard, a Magnolia tree, forked at the base. It stood about 40 feet tall.  One side of it had spread it's branches far too close to the electric lines, so the City was cutting it down. Not back; Down.  I was saddened by the loss, but speculative about the chance to get a hunk of wood. Nay, not a hunk, a stump.  I promised myself to go back later in the day to check on the progress.  Alas, when I went back, it was all over and the local team of caretakers had done their work well.  There was nary a stick left. Bummer.

A few days later, similar treck, same dogs finds two men taking down the other half of the tree.  It seems once the first aspect was removed, the other had started leaning precariously toward the house.  The balance had been broken.  Like many things in life, balance is a necessity. Two function as one made whole.

I find I must digress here as the story takes an interesting twist.  To whit:  when we moved about 6 months ago, we down sized rather dramatically.  It was not hard to figure out what we could do without as we made a simply decision to only keep those things that are necessary or that we love. What did become a challenge was to make all those decisions so quickly.  After we arrived here, we found that there were things that followed us in the move that just never were noticed for that process.  After arriving and going through all the basics and the boxes, we began to find those items, once loved, not necessary and yes, still here.  Not really sure in a new town just what to do with them, my husband said that he thought we should just put them out at the end of the driveway.  I thought this a remarkable thought in and of itself.  What??  Leave my now un-wanted and un-loved things on the edge of the street?  I agreed, but only if he promised to do something with these things on Saturday as I was resolute in thinking they would still be sitting there, becoming eyesores. 

That Saturday never came. Those things were gone. Snagged in the night by others with a new vision of purpose, a new sort of life to be born.  I was amazed!  No trips to search for thrift stores or hauling it to a donation center.  It was nothing short of miraculous to me.  Undaunted, the next week we left out some garden decorations.  Gone in the morning.  Old bookcase and shelf left in the house by the last occupants....gone. 

Back to the story.  As it turned out, the two young men cutting down the second fork of the Magnolia tree were the son and nephew of the woman who resides in the house.  We spoke and I gently inquired into the fate of the tree. The smaller branches were going to be used for firewood, but the main tree was 15-18 inches in diameter and far too large for a fireplace. They weren't quite sure just what to do with that part.  I plucked up my courage and asked if I could have a piece, and explained what use I intended for so lovely a tree stump. 

They offered me the tree stump, free of charge when they found out where we live. They are the same two guys who acquired two garden griffon statues that had made their way to our curb.  Those who say that life doesn't move in circles, surely need to leave something out on their curb.  I dare you to try it.

So now I am the owner of a lovely Magnolia tree stump. 

 It is something!  It weighs about 60 pounds.  Being fresh cut, it is going to have to do some curing and drying out.  It became apparent that I would need to find a way to keep it lifted off of the floor to get good air circulation, and to be able to place something under it in case sap or water might drip as it dried.  Finding something that would hold that kind of weight was going to be a challenge.  To my mind, I guessed some sort of grating would be required.  An internet search connected me to the McNichols Company, specialists in grating.  The have pictures of unusual applications all over their website, so I filled out the internet contact form and waited for a call.

It didn't take long.  I spoke with one of their representatives who was so professional and kind and while I'm guessing, a bit bemused at the intended application, never let on that this was not a do-able proposition.  When he told me they could even cut the recommended grating in a circle, I was without exaggeration, duly impressed.

Transaction completed, the package arrived a day later! 

And here was my new support system...

Is that precision or WHAT????  I was amazed also with how perfectly flat and even the whole unit is, too.  The following day I cleaned, organized the studio and found a little yellow rug to place under the whole she-bang.  Blessings are happening here!

Now, isn't that impressive?? 

No time for further chat....I feel a need to give it a pounding!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

Today is the reveal for the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop, another loving inspiration from Lori Anderson creative wonder and the writer of the Pretty Things blog. As a tribute to someone we chose to honor and remember, we are today showing in the reveal what we made for those special persons in our lives.

There have been blog hops throughout 2012, all which sounded amazing and all I missed with the adventure that last year Was.  When I read about this one, I decided that it couldn't be missed. I knew who I would pay honor to, what stories I could share, and finally the time to dedicate to such a proposition.  What I did not count on was the Missing, the backlog of emotion, the quiet tears and the resultant migraine headache.

I chose to make a bracelet for my friend Carol, who left this earth for larger spaces in 2005. We met in Birmingham Alabama in 1995.  As the Manager of a store that sold museum replica art, we met when she came for an interview as a sales person.  She was tiny, about 5'1", wearing sensible shoes and a lovely white blouse. (I was later to learn that she was the Imelda Marcos of white blouses that she swore could be worn for any occasion!)  When she began to speak, I was enthralled with her deep, gravely voice and an accent that I later found was from New Orleans. She was 60, newly divorced and looking for the chance to complete part of her bucket list.  I found her presence enthralling, and hired her on the spot.

We began a friendship that was the most remarkable that I have ever had the joy to experience. The 25 years difference in our ages melted away in spirited discussions on every subject imaginable. We shared every aspect of our lives and we both shared the same quirky sense of humor and could elicit nearly hysterical laughter from the other.  There was just so much happiness and genuine love between us.  She knew that I had studied art and always encouraged me to find my way back to my first love. Not in just selling art created by long dead other artists, but to seek out my own muse, my own creative spirit, my own voice.  She nicknamed me the White Witch because, as she used to quip, "There is just always a feeling of magic around you, like you belong in Stonehenge." 

Carol blessed my life in many ways, not the least in introducing me to my wonderful husband, who it turned out had been a friend of hers for years too!  It was as though heaven and earth moved all things in her life, in mine and even my husband's life, to allow us such an amazing time together.  When I was growing up, my Mom would tell me that if I lived my whole life and could count on one hand life's true friendships, I would be lucky. As the years passed in knowing Carol, I understood what she meant.

Whenever we were just hanging out, or would go grab a hamburger at our favorite place, there we would be in our blue jeans and white blouses, with the cuffs turned back to show off our mutual adoration for bracelets...the bolder, the better!

In memory of Carol, I chose to make a bracelet lovingly hand made in copper, the color of Dewar's Scotch, her favorite.  Then I added blues with lots of variation and enameled beads. And to bring things full circle, I chose to use lamp work glass beads from a new friend, Jan Thompson at JanZartGlass.

A toast to Carol. 

Carol's Charm

Here are other blogs to explore:

Hostess, Lori Anderson       Pretty Things

 Adlinah Kamsir                   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo               Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache                 All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu               Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank                      Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway                   Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem                         Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake                    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery                         Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle                Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick                       Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King                    Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier                      The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz                     Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler                   FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka                       Clay Space
Christina Hickman              Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Murrow               Charis Designs Jewelry
Christine Stonefield            Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman               Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson                      It's My Sea of Dreams
CJ Bauschka                       4 His Glory Creations by CJ
Crystal Thain                      Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin                        Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen             A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman             Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez                  Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey                    diane hawkey
Dita Basu                            ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington             Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd                        A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny                         beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz                  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen                        Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston                 CSW Designs
Inge von Roos                    Inge's Blog
Iveth Caruso                       Creative Atelier
Jacqueline Marchant          Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp                         Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates                          Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo                   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten    Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren                  Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray                   Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams                     lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton            It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne                   josjewels1
Jodie Marshall                    Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes                 Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen                 Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe                       The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean                           Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell                   Over the Moon Designs
Karin King                         The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton                       Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas                       Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton                        Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson     The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor                          Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak                       CianciBlue
Kim Houston                       The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter                         Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton                Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch                          LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus                      First Impression Design
Liddy McLaughlin               Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian                       Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder                     Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton                      Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver                            Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud        Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe                           Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell                    Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron                       Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster                 MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne                     The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert                      Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite     bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo                        Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo                           Ornamento
Marti Conrad                          Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker                  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars                        MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell                          Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly                 Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay                       The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin                         The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara                      one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta                         Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz              la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi               Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody               Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett                          Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen                    Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson                  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas                      Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren                           re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister        The Crazy Creative Corner
Pam Traub                            Klassy Joolz
Priya Krish                           Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson               Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag                 Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed                   Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson                  a creative chelle
Rosa Maria Cuevas              Helena de Troya
Sabine Dittrich                     perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe                          Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff                    Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode                         Pookledo
Sarah Singer                         String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent                         All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams                       Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac                        Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis                         Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner        Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey                       Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun                         Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z                         Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler              Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey                        Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.                                Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter                         Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk                    Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels                       Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse                         Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin                        Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks                              Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin                          Beads, Tea and Sweets