Saturday, December 28, 2013

Living in a Winter Wonderland

Hello!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We are winding down the year with quite the 'bang' around here - for those of you reading from far and away - I'm in what's called 'mid-Michigan' - near Lansing, the capitol city.  And WE - along with a few other states - were just devastated by a wicked nasty ice storm last weekend - which left most of us without power for days.  Without the ability to cook.  Without the ability to see after 5pm without flashlights.  Without Christmas basically.  Here are a few LOCAL photos of our neighborhood - I wanted to get a few more of other places with much, much more damage (like my mother in law's neighborhood - it looks as though bombs went off - and they are still without power after 7 days), but haven't had the camera when the opportunity arose.  Oh well...I'm sure many of you have seen the news footage.  I'm not sure a natural disaster is a good way to become news - but news we are none the less...

 We didn't lose very many limbs at all compared to some - that garage on the OTHER side of the fence?  Tree limb down across it, as well as the major loss of a birch tree.
 The storm left everything crystal and white - and it stayed frigid cold for much of week, hampering efforts of the power companies (not counting their own inadequate and inept management. Don't get me started again).
Those are icicles hanging from the lamp, the post, the clematis, and pretty much anything out there...

 A walk through the neighborhood revealed many devastating losses - this tree is now half the tree it was; and there were many, many limbs down, blocking walkways, roads and even damaging cars and homes.

 That yellow spot near the upper right?  A traffic signal gone dark - one of many.

We here in Holt, a small close suburb of Lansing, were without power for 4 days.  I stuck it out under sweaters, socks, blankets and dogs for 3 of them.  

We did our best to stick it out - had a picnic or two in front of the fire, and read books by battery run LED headlamps.  Alas - in the afternoon of day 3, I could handle it no more.  Yep - that thermostat reads 50 degrees - it ultimately reached closer to 40.

We accepted the invitation of my husbands cousin, who was gracious enough to not only take us in for the night, but also the dogs.  I know.  I know.  They probably would have been fine; but Zeus is getting up there (almost 12 years old) and has arthritis.  He was visibly shivering from the cold.  It made me feel better to know they were safe and warm with us.
Our Christmas was still dark for all but one aunt, so although her home was Christmas tree-less (she had planned to spend most of her holiday with US) she accepted us all (12 altogether in a 2 bedroom home) for gifts, dinner, and family time.
This entire ordeal has put many things in perspective for me, and I'm sure for a great many others.  It really didn't matter to us if we had Christmas ON what people consider to BE Christmas.  We managed to be able to do so, but more importantly - we were all together as a family.  THAT was the important part.  I know many families that are celebrating their holiday today - and some still waiting due to the ineptness of the power company.  (again - I could rant all day).   My mother in laws neighborhood is just one of many still cold, dark, and suffering from more than cold - but water back up, frozen pipes, radiator leakage, food spoilage and more.... we did what we could to help my MIL yesterday - but until the power returns, we won't know the extent of the 50+ year old steam heat (water based) furnace damage.
Through it all, though, there are many, many stories of survival.  Of helpful neighbors.  And strangers.  A quote that I posted on Facebook the other day really says it all:

"Tough times never last, but tough people do." ~Robert H. Schuller

Along with all the ice, and about 3 inches of snow on top of it, came much, much beauty to behold as well.  This is a photo taken by my niece, Rachel -  of the trees in the back of the horse pasture at my brother in laws place... serene. quiet. beauty.

(this photo courtesy of the local tv station WILX FB page)

 It's been a crazy end to a crazy mixed up year; but through it all - the beading continues - along with the plans.  I have decided that until I come up with a BETTER plan - the Etsy shop will have to do for jewelry sales.  So look for the announcement, and a new look to the shop (still using the name shescool on Etsy) sometime in January.  I'm also hard at work on NEW gallery pieces for The Shiawassee Art Center in Owosso.  Although they too were without power for a few days - the sales for the holiday season were great, I sold a few things, AND - most importantly - THEY LIKE ME!  THEY REALLY REALLY LIKE ME!  and have asked me to return again for another 3 month gig starting next weekend!  
SO - here's sneak peek just for blog readers of a couple pieces heading their way:

I am SOOOOO looking forward to 2014.  I have a feeling it's going to be a great one - it almost has to be! 2013 will be seriously EASY to top, and I for one am glad there are only 4 days left of it!
Have a wonderful rest of YOUR year, and see you again in '14!
Happy New Year!
And as always - Peaceful beading,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All is merry and bright aka a look back....

After quite the slow start to what I had deemed my "year of Sheryl", 2013 DID turn out to be quite the year.  It had it's ups - some new opportunities, a magically beautiful garden full of surprises, and fun with hubby as usual, just to name a few.    It also had some downs - a bad show or two, closing the Etsy shop, and having to give up my precious wheels (which still have not been replaced).  I came face to face with those that had hurtful words, and am grateful to those that helped me through.  It was a learning experience, and I hope that I learned to think before I speak, and only speak in kindness to others.  I made some new friends, became better friends to some, and unfortunately lost a few along the way as well.
Life goes on...
So here's to hoping 2014 will be as good and EVEN BETTER than 2013
.  I plan to listen, love and live more than ever before, with the help of those I love most.  And as usual - doing it all while beading is at the top of the list!   I may not make it back to the blog this year, so let me wish you joy and good cheer and for a beautiful start to the coming new year....

Merry Christmas!

Peaceful beading,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The year of change

I've seen a few other beady pals write about the same subject this week;  it must be in our beaders blood somewhere. We all seem to be anticipating CHANGE in the new year.

Upgrading, updating, uploading and just a general change UP of our plans, our goals, our designs, our jewelry - our LIVES.  For the good.

I've already made a few changes to the jewelry pages - not with new pieces - but with new news.  Head on over and find out why...

Also added some changes to the class and event page;  hope to have a fun 2014 schedule.  Head on over...

I also hope to change and expand UPon my exposure as an artist this year.  I still struggle with self promotion, but am hoping that I can pep talk myself into better selling of myself and my work.

One thing I hope DOESN'T change:  my brain and it's current UPward creative mode.

I have trays of ideas, with the beads all gathered and the plan filed somewhere in that right part of my brain that's for bead design; a part of my brain that just seems to keep expanding, and encroaching upon the left side  - at the expense of some of my other logical, linear brain matter - like NAMES, for instance!  or where I was going when I got off the couch!  Can't remember?  Oh, well.  Guess I'll just head for the bead table for a little right brain stimulation until I DO remember....LOL!

Change.  All in all - it's a good thing.

In case I don't get back to blogging during this busy holiday season - may you and yours spend joyous time together - loving, living and creating beautiful memories.

Peaceful beading,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Did ya miss me?

Whew!  What a weekend!  The show is finally over, and although I'm still not done tearing down the displays and returning my home to it's original order - I can breathe now.  AND take it to the bank!  YaHOOO!
Here are LOTS and LOTS of photos of before, during and after, as well as a few SOLD photos.  This is it for me for shows this year, unless I happen to do another impromptu private show for someone special.

Book nook transformed.

 Ok, so I went a little wild with the display, but since I also used some animal print LAST YEAR, and had since accumulated even MORE - well, it just seemed to work somehow.  Everyone seemed to like it - and of course, always many comments on my purple.   :D

 The holiday jewelry table.  Sold just a few holiday jewelry items - including ONE of my favorites:
 "Dirty Snowflakes" now has a new place to call home;  I had even worn this one in the past, and hope I don't wonder where it's gone (I sell so many things sometimes I forget) next time I wear my black and gray snowflake shirt!

Another popular item this time around - FINALLY - the scarf slides.  Haven't been able to sell those for the whole year, even when I was demonstrating and WEARING ONE.  Sold so many on Thursday - had to make more on Friday.  

This annual craft show that I hosted (this is just my second year - some have been participating for over 30 years!) included more than just myself - it also included my friend Tracy and her vintage linens, embroidered pillows, and general primitive and folksy holiday art.  She transforms my living room into a Christmas wonderland, and THIS YEAR - she did it just TWO WEEKS after giving birth to this little guy!:
Say hello to Malaki - he is a genuine pre-Christmas miracle, in that his mom is one of those rare women that having JUST started her menopausal symptoms - didn't even know she was pregnant!  He's perfect - and he was the star of our show....

Awesome Christmas-ness....

 I also hosted and invited two other vendors - Jaime Grant and her BEAUTIFULLY crafted cards and memory books.  Jaime's rather new to the show circuit - but her table was practically empty at the end of the show!  YAY Jaime!

There was also my fellow bead friend Judy Fogle - who seems to be a woman of many talents.  Not only is she a farmers wife, helping with the dairy farm and the maple syrup processing, but she is a volunteer for a local teen mothers' home, a member of a group that spends time with seniors, and she SEWS - making doll clothes, hats, purses, baby clothes and more from ALL thrift store finds.  Cheaply purchased, but very professionally made.  It was very cold here this weekend - and she was winner winner chicken dinner when it came to selling her hats made from sweaters.
 She also made teabag holders, and cup cozies - including silk fabrics and beautiful pearl buttons.

 CUTE little baby booties.  There are two pair of these now winging their way to ALASKA!
 All in all, we had a wonderful weekend.

And you know what the say about dogs and babies:  THEY SELL!  So between Malaki (here two of the three days) and my two babies - we were all happy.  Bella wasn't real wild about her little jail confinement, but was as good as gold none the less.
 Here are a few of the other pieces that sold this weekend.  Note BOTH have an owl feature.  I also have an owl piece for sale and on display at Shiawassee Art Center in Owosso during their Holiday Market - kinda curious about how that one does, too, since they seem to be so popular right now.

There were lots of other sales, too - and I'm a happy but exhausted camper.  Nothing on the books until Turkey day though (except for a rather hefty bank deposit!) - and our new nephew in law is offering to deep fry the turkey for the whole family, so I think the hard work is done!
 Now it's time to finish decking the halls and then hunkering down to do some serious beading, and possibly, just POSSIBLY - reopening my ETSY shop - but in a whole new way.   Or finally end up with a worthy website.  So stay tuned.  Our cold winter could mean big things for Cool Moon.
Peaceful beading, TTFN

Monday, November 11, 2013

The SELLING season

Can NOT believe that it's just about mid-November.  Holiday decor EVERYWHERE.  Even some homes already have their lights and decorations up - and I will be joining them before the week is out.
It is almost time again for the big 3 day Holiday Sampler show here in Holt.  There are 12 participants this time, but 3 of them are churches and senior homes, so there are SEVERAL booths in each of those.  My home is host to 3 other vendors besides myself this time - instead of last years 4.  That was a little crowded.

This year - Tracy's usual Vintage TK Antiques and collectibles will fill the front space, Judy Fogle will make her unique upcycled sweaters into hats, gloves and the CUTEST baby stuff, and a new vendor this year - Jaime J. Grant and her beautiful paper crafts.  Judy and I will also have some baked goods for people to buy, and I'm putting out a small display of JUST BEADS.  A buck a strand, or a buck a bag - gotta sell some more of these puppies....

I've also delivered the fresh pieces to Shiawassee Art Center for their market.  Can't wait to see what lovelies sell this year.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that I'd sold a few more pieces when I went to switch them out on Saturday....

It's interesting to find out what is popular in certain areas; almost every piece that I've taken there with a FACE, particularly in BROOCH form - has sold.  But in other places where I've shown them - NADA.
Like I said.... interesting.
Well - better get back at it - I also have a special show to to get ready for THIS week - the girls are coming to me, so that means getting the space ready a whole week early!  Last year's space looked a little like this:

Peaceful beading,

Monday, November 4, 2013

(almost) back in the swing

You may have noticed it's been a while since I was here.  It wasn't really intentional to stay away so long, but I promised myself that I wouldn't post until there was something POSITIVE to post about.  And while there isn't a lot of GREAT news - at least the gray, depressing days seem to have brightened.  I need to work harder at not letting one bad show bring me so far down.  This is the fourth year I've participated in the Haslett holiday show - and it was by far the worst.  Had issues from the get go - from a rainy trek from the parking lot to the door (which does nothing for the hairdo or the outfit which I need to look nice for greeting customers all day), a broken display table that had me scrambling to re-fit, and a purloined extension cord by another vendor that kept me from displaying as I wanted to.  All in all, I didn't think the space looked that bad, but had a really hard time getting ladies to walk into the space to even LOOK.  Hearing them proclaim that they are 'sick of jewelry' did not help my mood....all in all, I made my booth fee back.  Sucky show.  Everyone has them now and again, but it still hurts just the same....
I also had another birthday while I was 'gone'.  Not sure how many of those I'll be continue to celebrate - but when the big day rolls around, I still sorta feel like this inside:
 But on the outside, I feel more like this most days.

It has taken a few weeks and a few good people to get me back in the swing and out of the funk; I think I'm closer to being able to start preparing for the big 3 day show here at the house - I HAVE TO - so it will get done.  I just take it slow, a little a day, throwing in reading, beading, crocheting and dog loving in between.
There's also the Holiday Market at the Shiawassee Art Center that will be taking place soon - so it gave me a bit of incentive to create something funky and new to take to them for this years market.  You're the first to see this piece - haven't posted it anywhere else....

It is a brooch, but can easily be converted to a necklace with a cool converter found at FMG.  Speaking of which ....
they are killing me with this waiting game.  It will be another MONTH before I hear from them about whether or not "Mariposa"
 has placed in the contest.  I hope to have her back before the holidays - and was hoping to get her back before the holiday shows.  NOT going to happen - but she may arrive in time for Christmas party wearing....
Hope all my readers and followers are faring well, and enjoying the fall.  The color here in Michigan has been amazing this year, and I've had a few opportunities to capture it, with drives, walks and just a gander out the door to our back yard, currently COVERED in walnut tree leaves.  This is the pond at the dog park that our 'family' frequents - beautiful.

Now if I could just get used to this time change!  UGH!  In bed an hour early - up even earlier.  I remember when I used to LOVE having that 'extra hour' to enjoy life.  Gotta try harder to do that again....SO...with that....I will go do some EXTRA peaceful beading.  How about you?