Friday, March 29, 2013

Focus On Life Week 13: Have Faith

What a great prompt for this time of year. I thought about posting pics of my beaded rosaries or other religious artifacts but I came across this photo from the media tour of Louis Urrea's book Queen of America. This was my #1 favorite book from 2011, so loved that I jumped at the chance to hear Urrea when he visited Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix as part of his book tour.

Copyright - For Inspiration Only: Queen Of America
Queen of America is the second book by Urrea about Teresita, who amazingly enough, was a distant relative of Urrea. In 2005, we met her in The Hummingbird's Daughter, which covered Teresita's life from birth until she and her father fled from Mexico. At an early age, Teresita learned healing arts from Huila, a curandera (healer). As she matured, Teresita demonstrated skills that went far beyond simple healing, one being raising from the dead! A more plausible explanation was that Teresita probably awoke from a coma state but the tale took wing as further evidence of her powers. It took Urrea almost two decades to complete The Hummingbird's Daughter and that alone is a testament of faith!

Queen of America picks up the tale when Teresita and her father enter the United States where they spend time in the Southwest - much of that in Arizona, which I love! Both books contain a mix of facts and fantastical elements, but have no doubt --  Teresita did exist, as proven by several of her relatives who also visited Urrea at his book talk. During her short but full life, Teresita performed a variety of healings... perhaps miracles... that earned her the title "Saint of Cabora."

It is Teresita's history that made me think of the faith she had and inspired in others. But even more, I think of the faith of Luis Urrea who worked for over 20 years to bring her story to us.

For more inspirational stories of faith, please visit Sally's Studio Sublime.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Focus On Life Week 12: Observe the Curve

Anyone out there familiar with Horseshoe Curve? It's an engineering marvel located near Altoona, Pennsylvania. I grew up with tales of the Horseshoe Curve and remember my excitement over our school field trip to view this historic landmark. But it's not Horseshoe Curve I am writing about today but its namesake, The Altoona Curve.

The Altoona Curve is a minor league, AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. What better way to observe the curve than to recognize the official start of baseball season next week?

And now we need some beady curves. Don't you just love the curves of these Maruti Beads? I used them in the Going Dutch pattern by Julia Gerlach from BeadAndButton 2012 Peyote Stitch Special.

Please visit Sally's blog to check out the curves of the other participants!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Time Out For Books

The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter #1)The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

Amazon has a Kindle special for the Hangman's Daughter series today..... $.99 each!

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Focus On Life Week 11: The Possibilities Are Endless

Wow - Sally must be a mind reader! A couple weeks ago, I had a mini melt-down over all my recent UFO's. I came down with a serious case of Beaders' ADD. In an attempt to organize my chaos - I did what anyone would do: I made piles!

You see that four of these are labeled wedding projects. This is because my step-son is getting married next month and I have been fussing over which necklace to wear with my SMOG (Step-Mom of groom) outfit. So far, the winner is coming out in the #1 position. This pattern is Golden-Edged Ruffles by Shelley Nybakke from the December 2007 Beadwork Magazine. (Yes, I have hung onto that pattern for over five years!) I need to get booking on it to be ready in time for the big event!

The good news is I did complete one of these projects just in time for Karen's retirement party this week-end. We will sure miss our dear friend around the office. I started the necklace to get practice on my tubular right-angle weave and decided I liked the strap so well, I needed to add a cabochon. I purchased a bunch of dichroic glass cabs on eBay a couple years ago and this one was one of my favorites. I embellished and it was good to go!
And for some more exciting possibilities, please check out the posts from our other bead artists at Studio Sublime.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Focus on Life Week 10: All Wrapped Up

Can't resist the tug of nostalgia to post this pic of my brother 51 years ago. He's still cute and probably has the same amount of hair.

For some more great posts, visit Studio Sublime Week 10.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Focus on Life Week 9: Knock, Knock

I know we're supposed to talk about doorways but I can't resist taking a slightly different path....
Knock, knock
Who's there?
Some bunny
Some bunny who?
Some bunny is messing with my Easter egg pattern!

We have probably all experienced the agony of working on a pattern that didn’t quite turn out like the finished version in the pattern photo. I tend to assume it’s my fault – that I didn’t read the instructions properly or used a wrong bead size or just made a mistake. And usually that’s the case.

Such was my experience this week when I started making my Easter eggs. I was SO excited to see the “Egg-stravagance” pattern by Julia Gerlach in the recent supplement to BeadAndButton. Just take a look at these amazing eggs.
I fell in love at first sight! Since I have several friends with birthdays around Easter, I thought these would be the perfect gifts and I rushed out to buy the supplies. I bought everything as ordered – even down to the wooden eggs from Rabbit Hollow Creations.

I got all set to make my first egg and they do take a bit of time. First you have to paint your eggs like so.
The pattern is made in components like this and each one takes 12 components.
I was so excited when I got to the stage of fitting all the components together and closing the top and bottom – only to find that the bottom was way too loose.

Arghhhhh #### @@@@ !!!!

I read, re-read and re-read the pattern. Did I use the right size of egg? Check. Did I use the right size of beads? Check. Did I follow the instructions? Check. I put the whole mess away and sulked for the rest of the night. The next day, I decided to re-visit the scene of the crime, tore out the bottom and experimented with different size beads until it fit snugly. Aha – I outsmarted the pattern menace!

 Here is my first creation. Now I can hardly wait to finish the three others.

Please hop on over to visit the other fine blog participants at Studio Sublime.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Time Out for Books

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)Winter of the World by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - Ken Follett sure likes to test our commitment to a book. The sheer heft of his books are one thing that entices me since I know I will be in store for a good, long read. Such is the case with Winter of the World which follows Fall of Giants in tracking members of five families and their experiences during the World War II time period. I love the device of experiencing history through the lives of characters who we can track over the years and Follett is fastidious in his historical research and in drawing very appealing characters (even the ones you don't like!) What I don't like is waiting until next year for book #3!

Lone WolfLone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I run a little hot and cold on Jodi Picoult's books and my reaction to Lone Wolf was similar. I fell in love with the wolf narrative - and was completely enthralled by Luke, the "wolf whisperer" who serves as the lightning rod for the book's commentary on how quality of life factors into end of life decisions, along with diverse opionions held by loved ones making such decisions. What was more difficult for me was buying into the plotline of Cara's (Luke's daughter) enlistment of her own attorney to represent her point of view. I guess it's possible but I just couldn't see myself or any other 17-year-old I know taking these steps. That felt a bit contrived to me as did the organ donation messages sprinkled throughout the book - almost like Jodi wanted to be sure we were being educated as well as enthralled by the book. In the end, I am glad I read Lone Wolf, if for no other reason to learn more about these magnificent animals.

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