Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow + Ice = Hard Times

Remember how happy I was to see the first snowfall earlier in the week? Well, my Happy Dance quickly turned into the Stressed Out Samba when the next day, all the beautiful, fluffy snow turned into loads of harsh, scary ice, followed by days of screaming winds of at least 60 MPH. Our roads were made nearly impassable, trees split and broke apart with sounds like loud rifle shots, and our power was in constant flux (even now, there are still thousands of people who are still without power!). Ashley ended up missing 4 days of school and Kraig had to stay home from work because it was so dangerous to try and drive anywhere in those conditions.

At the end of the week, the weather warmed up and the ice finally melted, leaving behind tons of damage in its wake. Our neighborhood, blessed with an abundance of lovely gardens and large trees, looked like a war zone. We lost at least 4 of our trees, including my favorite old lilac tree, and our car was sideswiped by a falling branch (luckily, it didn't do too much damage!). But at least we were one of the luckier ones, staying safe and warm and had our power for the majority of the time.

I wasn't able to go out and take any photos of the ice when it was at its worst, but these are from our front yard on the day after…

I also discovered some cool looking mossy stuff growing on the broken branches of one of our trees—a bit of beauty in the midst of the chaos…

It makes me so sad to see all the trees lying broken all over the place, here at home and everywhere else in our local area. But soon we'll get everything cleared up and Spring is right around the corner…and hopefully, things will be back to normal again!

I hope you're staying warm and safe this Winter, wherever you live! *Ü*

Monday, January 16, 2012

Let It Snow!

Well, it's about time!! We missed out on our cherished "White Christmas" and have only had a day or two with a thin layer of frost on the ground all Winter long… but yesterday we were finally graced with some honest-to-goodness snow! Here's what it looked like from my front door, when I stepped out this morning to snap some photos…

And this is what it looks like from my backyard—where my favorite viewpoint is from our huge kitchen window (staying warm and dry inside, of course!). I love how the new snow forms a delicate layer on the bare branches of the trees like sparkling Fairy Dust…

And just as I was getting ready to go back inside, HUGE fluffy snowflakes began to gently fall down, then quickly gained momentum, until the yard began to blur in a flurry of the white stuff. What fun!! Mmmmmmmmm… the perfect time to make a cup of delicious hot cocoa, curl up in my favorite blanket, and enjoy Nature's Show! *Ü*

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pushing Through

push [poosh]
verb (used without object)  
15. to use steady force in moving a thing away; shove.
16. to make one's way with effort or persistence, as against difficulty or opposition.
18. to put forth vigorous or persistent efforts.

I've noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers are posting about their new special word or phrase for the year and I although I wasn't planning on joining in, the one word that keeps popping into my mind lately is "Push."

As in the need to…
PUSH to break through creative ruts (which can happen way too often!),
PUSH to get our home remodel finally finished,
PUSH to spend more quality time with my family,
PUSH to simplify and organize my home, life and business
PUSH to exercise more often (like pulling teeth!)
PUSH to spend less time on the computer and more time outside

And the list seems to go on and on…

And while sometimes this word may sound rude or forceful, to me it's come to mean the concentrated effort to push past my fatique, insecurities, discouragement, and crazy schedule to make some big changes in my life that I feel are long past due. Like a good hard kick in the pants to get me going! Hah!

One of the big projects I'm starting to tackle is reorganizing and decluttering my main studio space. Right now, it's so crammed with supplies, boxes, and works in progress, with just a little 2-foot wide aisle running through it from the door to my computer. I swear my family is thinking about submitting my name to the Hoarders television reality show. Seriously!! And if they don't, I just might…I could use the extra help! LOL

Here's what my studio used to look like when I lived in Kansas:

I finally got my dream studio space finished—only to find myself packing it all up for our move to Washington six months later and have never fully unpacked since then. *sigh* My current space is a totally different configuration and I really miss my basement storage, but I'm bound and determined to "push" through and get it back to as close to perfect again as I can—one square foot at a time! *Ü*

What kind of things are you pushing through that you'd like to accomplish?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Directions

The New Year came in to our home with a quiet night of watching the fireworks over the Seattle Space Needle on our TV while our two girls celebrated into the wee hours with the church youth group. Maybe not the rousing party night that a lot of people love to do on New Year's Eve, but it suited my hubby and me just fine! LOL

But don't let appearances fool you! I have BIG plans for 2012 and am working on introducing several new things very soon, including a series of my handmade lampwork hollow pendants, filled with a variety of gorgeous goodies like this one:

Filled with silver glitter beads and finished with sterling plated bead caps.

I was inspired to create this series after visiting Venice last year and seeing similar Murano glass designs in high-end jewelry store windows. I totally fell in love with their classic simplicity and elegance and knew I just had to try something like that myself. The Murano designs didn't have a sterling silver tube core like mine does (the same that I use in all my European Charm beads), but I love the idea of being able to easily string my modified design onto any type of chain, silk ribbon, leather cording, etc. to change up the look.

This is the first one of its kind for me, and the camera just can't do justice to the beautiful clarity of the clear hollow bead, and the sparkle of the silver mix that flows freely inside as you move. I already have dozens of ideas buzzing around my head on what else to fill them with, such as other color combinations of glitter and sequins, tiny ocean treasures, a lock of hair for a custom order…the possibilities are endless!

I'm temporarily calling them my "Treasure Keepers" but am not sure if that will be the permanent name of this series or not. So I'd love to hear any ideas you might have to help me out! *Ü*
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