Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bead Hoarder: 2 Necklaces

The other night my sister-in-law came over for a spontaneous jewelery making night! I need to do this more often, as I have hoarded so many beads, charms and pendants that are just begging to get made into pretties. I made two necklaces this time. The first is a beaded choker with a super-pretty flower pendant that I got from a craft store jewelry section. It's pretty straight-forward. The beads on this one are mostly reclaimed from old necklaces I've thrifted or been given. I wanted it to have a vintage feel, and I think the beads I chose pull that off.

The other necklace I made is a simple chain lariat. I have found my new favorite thing to make. So easy and so charming (pun intended). Simply find or make 2 pendants or charms, attach one to one end of your desired length of chain with a little ring, feed the other end of the chain through that ring and attach your other charm to the other end of the chain. If you made the length long enough to fit over your head, you're done. I wanted more of a choker-length, so I cut the chain in half and attached a clasp. I just love my little pirate skull charm and vintage-looking skull bead! Bad-ass AND cute, don't you think?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Embracing Winter's Pretty

I am not a big fan of winter. The bitter cold, Scraping ice off of my car, numb fingers, dry eyeballs, slippery roads, a need to wear socks... whine whine whine. But I don't plan on moving to the South anytime soon, so I try to embrace the season. One thing about the all the snow and ice... it's quite beautiful. Here are some photos I've taken over the last few years after various winter storms.

This is Creve Couer Lake. What a great sky there was that day!

I love love the bright red berries against the grays and whites. I used this on my Christmas cards one year.

More berries, these encased in ice. Looks pretty trippy the more you stare at it.

Tall field grass covered in ice.

Pine needle ice star! Another photo that got used as part of my Christmas cards one year.

So stark! So pretty!

I want to use this as a background for something. Hmmmm...

Careful on those stairs!

More stairs. I love the lines and shadows that a blanket of snow on steps makes.

So, yeah, winter, though mostly miserable, has lots of Pretty. Here is a collection of some ├╝ber-gorgeous winter photography. Puts mine to shame, for sure.Wow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coloring Therapy - Mandalas

When I've had a bad day, sometimes I just want to go home and color. Yes, I'm 30 years old. And I still color. How can you not be happy with a big rainbow of markers to play with?

Now, I'm not coloring Smurfs coloring book pages (though if anybody has a Smurf coloring book they want off they're hands, that sure would be AWESOME!) When I was in high school, I had a religion teacher who got all her classes hooked on Mandalas. She had us color these intricately patterned circles during class as a meditation. And by hooked, I mean we got in trouble in other classes for coloring them. Whoops.

According to the Mandala Project website:

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.

Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.

Now that sounds lovely, if not a little New Age Douchey. However, as "grown-up" (and I use that term loosely), I really do find coloring Mandalas relaxing and meditative. There are lots of websites that offer free downloads of assorted Mandala art for you to print and color. Check out here, here and here. Of course if you google mandalas, you will find even more. There are also a plethora of Mandala coloring books you can buy (someone's birthday is coming up, BTW). You do not have to be high on the creative/artistic spectrum to enjoy Mandalas. They are pretty much beautiful no matter what.

I have even made my own Mandala designs, both digitally and hand-drawn, which is just as satisfying and mind-easing (if not more-so) as coloring! For the hand-drawn ones, I simply print out a circle on blank paper, and fill it in, Zentangle-style. It's like doodling with a wee bit of structure. Here are a couple Daydream Believer Original Mandalas that you can download.

Download a pdf of this HERE. Or just click on the image to get the full-size jpeg, which is big enough to print and color.

Download a pdf of this HERE.
Or just click on the image to get the full-size jpeg, which is big enough to print and color.

I will periodically have more original mandalas available for free download here, so stay tuned!