Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weekly Inspiration Photo!


Wow! I can't believe it's been a week since I've updated Merkaba's Musings. We were out of town over Memorial Day Weekend for a much-needed break. Completely unplugged. No television, no computer, just relaxation! Now I'm back and, of course, behind in my normal routine. But that's okay.

This week's inspiration is *a watched pot never boils.* The above photo is of a beautiful peony that finally bloomed while away. For weeks we waited in anticipation as the buds formed on the plant. And waited, and waited, and waited! Any day now, we thought.

It was so nice to see them in bloom when we arrived home. Definitely worth the wait and a little lesson in patience!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekly Inspiration Photo! Hope.


Today's inspiration is about HOPE. I can't and won't tell you what to hope for. Only you can decide that. I, personally, hope for a lot of things :)

Until recently I had no idea that a columbine was a thing...a flower to be precise. I think many readers will understand when I say that I always think of tragedy when I hear the word columbine. So, how can it mean something so entirely different?

The above photograph shows a yellow columbine that was planted in my flower bed last summer. Actually, several varieties were, yellow, maroon, white, etc. It is a gorgeous flower and the real beauty is that it comes back year after year.

While the tragic event will never be lost in my memory, I am happy that these flowers now conjure new emotions. Feelings of hope.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Featured Artist Spotlight....Bellebeads!!!

I met Bellebeads through the Etsy Angels Team. Although at the time, we weren't officially a team! Just a group of caring artists who banded together to raise money for two young boys in LA who lost their mother just before Christmas. Through these efforts, the team was born and also several lasting friendships! Bellebeads is actually a mother/daughter duo who share a passion for lampwork, family, friendships, and so much more. Their official shop name is Family Flame Artisan Beads, which I think sums it up pretty well. Around Etsy, they are known as Bellebeads! Marianne (mother) and Adrianne (daughter) are not only talented, they are smart, funny, caring, beautiful women who have enormous hearts. It is this passion for life and art that resonates in their creations. I am the proud owner of some of their beads and am even more proud to call them my friends.

They were recently featured in an Etsy Storque article that I encourage you to read HERE here is more information about this dynamic duo. I asked, they answered!

MJ: How long have you been creating/designing? When did you first learn you had a creative side?
M&A: We both have been creating pretty much our whole lives. Adrianne usually following in her mother's footsteps. It was an instinct, like second nature to us. We are the 4th and 5th generations of artists in our family.

MJ: What is your inspiration to create? What is your motivation to succeed?
M&A: Our inspiration comes from family, special memories, and places we've been as well as our love for nature. Our motivation is to do well at what we love. My own mother always said, "Do what you love and you'll never work again."

MJ: When you are not working on your craft, what are you doing?
M&A: We both love gardening and fishing/boating. Adrianne hunts and plays paintball and Marianne is an avid bird watcher/animal protector.

MJ: Do you belong to any groups on Etsy?
M&A: We are proud members of the Etsy Angels Team (EANGTEAM) and Marianne is also a member of the Wild, Wise, and Witty Grandmamas Street Team.

MJ: What is on the horizon for you? New products? Etc.?
M&A: For now we are working towards getting some electroformed beads and experimenting with that. We also plan on doing some Precious Metal Clay (PMC) work and possibly doing a website sometime.

MJ: Share one thing about you that you think would surprise people?
M&A: HA! Silently we are very competitive with each other :)

Check out Marianne & Adrianne's Etsy Shop.... Bellebeads

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kazuri Clay Beads...What are they? Why are they so special?




If you are familiar with my jewelry, then you probably know that I use a variety of beads in my work. Whether glass, crystal, metal, polymer clay, pearls, etc...I truly love them all. But, my favorite material has to be Kazuri clay beads. Kazuri means *small and beautiful* in Swahili and is the perfect description for these beads, which are handcrafted by people in Kenya, Africa. Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Organization and employs over 300 women who make, paint, and fire each bead by hand. Each one I use is authentic and represents a piece of Kenyan art and culture. To read more about the company and the bead-making process, visit KAZURI.

Most of my recent creations have included these beads in some fashion or another. Whether used in a bracelet, necklace, or pair of earrings, these beads really make a great conversation piece. It is a pleasure to work with these artful creations and in turn create my own wearable pieces of art. Made by women, for women :)

For more Kazuri bead creations, visit my Etsy shop!

If you have used Kazuri beads in your creations, please feel free to email me a photo or a link to your stuff! I'd love to put together an Etsy treasury featuring Kazuri works!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weekly Inspiration Photo!


Lately I've been working really hard on promoting, advertising, networking, and making sure I visit my eBay groups, Etsy groups, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, Talent Database, etc. that I've totally neglected the creative part of my job. And not only that, but I've not taken much time for me and my family. As we strive to succeed, especially in such a competitive environment, it's easy to get tunnel vision and not see what's really important.

This photo was taken on another recent trip to the WNC Nature Center where I spent the day with my husband and son. We had a great time and it felt fantastic to be out in the sun and away from the computer! I share it with you as a reminder to have fun. Play. Live, laugh, love. You'll have no regrets.

AND taking time for yourself and your family will really get the creative juices flowing. Trust me, I'm full of crafty ideas :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Weekly Inspiration Photo...Get Creative!


I love being inspired by animals. These photos were taken at the Western North Carolina Nature Center last month. Of all the great species to see there, this peacock was my favorite. Free to roam the property as he pleases, this peacock was a big hit everywhere he traveled. While I couldn't ever find him with his plumage fully fanned, I found these photographs to be just as interesting. The colors are iridescent, magnificent, wonderful, etc. Definitely worthy of an inspiration or two!


And, can you imagine having to haul those around?!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

For Mom....Cool Etsy Finds for Mother's Day :)

Mother's Day is fast approaching! Next weekend, May 11th, people will be celebrating Moms, Grandmoms, Aunts, and so on. I was browsing a few of my favorites on Etsy and came across these wonderful gifts for Mom!

A Sugar Affair offers cookies, brownies, and other edible treats like these I Love Mom cookies as shown above. Take a look around, you'll be drooling in no time :)

Sharon Art has a fabulous collection of originals, ACEOs, and prints like this hand-painted greeting card as shown above. Check out her shop for other handcrafted gift ideas :)

Crafts By Chris not only creates polymer clay beads, she also designs jewelry and baubles like this beautiful customized mother/child pendant. See her shop for other fine jewelry gifts :)