Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working Magic with a White Elephant

I truly believe “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and nothing stirs up my creative juices like the need of a friend. And Mezz, of MezziG Creations and author of Creative Outlet, is a perfect example of exactly that. She took a friend’s sentimental white elephant and worked her magic by turning it into 8 upcycled heirloom pieces for members of her friend’s family. To the left is a picture of one of my favorites. To get the whole story and see the other 7 necklaces as well as a picture of the original piece of jewelry that she creatively re-purposed, I suggest you read her article entitled “For Friends.”

Mezz is a talented jewelry artist from Sydney, Australia who recently picked up kumihimo. “What is kumihimo?” you may be asking, at least I sure did. Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese art form of “gathering threads” and braiding them into intricate and highly decorative designs. It’s sort of a refined macramé that is done using a special disc as a loom. If you’d like to learn more about kumihimo, I once again point you to Mezz's blog where you will find these three articles: Braiding One, Braiding Two, and Using My Kumihimo.

I very much enjoyed running into Mezz in cyberspace. She comes across as energetic yet grounded. Her writing has a casual upbeat tempo and I found the samples of her handmade jewelry intriguing and her stories heartwarming. I thought you too might enjoy meeting her. And if you head for her blog, I hope you enjoy your time there as much as I did.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Honoring American Women and Being Honored

Mary Anne Gruen, of Startlight Blog, blew me away twice today. The first time was with her July 4th post (which I just read yesterday) about four American Heroines I had never heard of before. And the second time was when I discovered that Mary Anne had bestowed upon me (for my blog) the Neno's Award.

Most importantly, I hope you'll visit her blog and read In Honor of July 4th. It's an enlightening article about the impact four women had on our developing country--these were four women I had never heard of before: Sybil Ludington, Deborah Sampson (alias Robert Shurtliff), Nancy Hart, and Phillis Wheatley. Reading a short recap of these women's stories reminded me that no matter whether we are men or women, slave or free, young or old, we all have a contribution to make and a chance to leave our mark on the world.

Secondly, I admit that I'm better at tooting someone else's horn than tooting my own. So it was a very pleasant surprise to discover I had been given the Neno's Award by Mary Anne. I was both honored and humbled when she recognized me as a "team player who's always looking to support other artists." It's so empowering and uplifting to be recognized for who I am, and not just the quality of my stained glass and decorative folk painting. So thank you, Mary Anne. You made my day!

The Neno's Award was originally created by Retno Sofyaniek from Denpasar, Indonesia and first distributed to her exchange-links on March 16, 2009. Retno, who goes by her childhood knick name Neno, did a search for "Neno's Award" just for curiosity sake on May 2 and was totally amazed to find out that in those 6 weeks thousands of bloggers had received and posted the award. Neno is an English teacher working for an educational company in Kuta and the name of her blog is "I Can't Stop Smiling All the Time".

Neno initiated this award as a way to recognize and applaud those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging. She also wanted the receipients to share why they enjoy blogging. These were the "rules" she suggested for the receipients of the award.
• Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.
• Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.
• Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.
• Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.
• Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

What amazes me the most about this award, is that when I searched "Neno Award" there were 358,000 results, yet it has morphed very little. The "rules" cited by Mary Anne asks that the reciepient includes links to the person's blog who game them the award as well as links to the blogs they are recognizing witht he award in their post about the award. And the new stipulation is that one nominates 5 fellow bloggers to receive the award instead of leaving it up to the receipient.

I don't think it's important to follow the specifics of the rules, but rather to remain in the spirit of the award's creator. So with that in mind, I'd like to nominate the following:

Military Spouse Web for their tireless efforts in promoting and supporting the businesses run by military service members' spouses. It's a noble patriotic thing to do and a great way to recognize the sacrifices made by the spouses and families of our soldiers. Thank you.

TeriB of S & T Creations for her openness and eagerness in sharing her expertise through several on line venues. I often catch myself wondering if she ever sleeps.

Arlene of Spirit Essence Art for her creative enthusiasm and her willingness to spur us all on by sharing both her struggles and her successes in living an artist's life. A stop by her blog always leaves me inspired.

And lastly, I should mention why I like to blog...it's simply I love to write, I love to connect people with other people, and I love to reflect on life. Blogging lets me do all three at once.

Copper Wire Caught My Eye

Recently, I was refered to the blog By Earth Expressions where artist Suzy of Earth Expressions on Etsy.com was showing off some of her latest handcrafted copper jewelry. I was immediately drawn in and found many of her jewelry pieces to be intriguing.

As a stained glass artist, I often work with copper wire as reinforcement as well as decorative embellishments for my pieces. I also enjoyed seeing the way Suzy used glass, wood, and resin to make one of a kind necklace pendants. So I thought I'd share the links to her blog and her shop with you, in case you have a minute to take a look.

For a quick trip to see either of these items in Suzy's Etsy just click on their photo. And, thanks Suzy for letting me use your photos.