Monday, August 31, 2009

I've managed to finish all 12 months of the BJP and I'm quite happy with the results. Starting in the upper left corner with September, then October and November going down. Back to the top for December, second from the left, and down again for January and February. March is on top, 3rd from the left, with Aprial and May below. Finally June on the top right with July and August below.
I supposed I could say something about each piece, but the important thing for me is the variety and how well the pieces work together. I started each piece with an idea and a color of Ultra Suede. Then I made a lampworked bead or beads to be the inspiration or just be part of the design. People who look at the real piece enjoy figuring out which bead I made.
Now my challenge is to make some small circles to cover the corners and figure out how to mount and frame the piece. But I've got time, 4 months until the next BJP begins. Can't wait!

August Finished!

I had no trouble thinking of a theme and bead for August. I'm amazed, pleased and a little surprised that I've stuck with this project. So full circle seemed very fitting. The earth has made another journey around the sun, and all of us have traveled with it!
As with all my pieces, they are quite simple from a bead embroidery technical level, but I do have fun with the colors and making a lampwork bead to fit into the piece.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 is all about me! LOL

I'm the sort of person who does not crave the limelight or work at getting attention. I prefer to work quietly in the background, picking up the pieces. I didn't want a big wedding, I would never want to be on a TV game show, and I sure as heck would hate to be a politician. So my theme this month is a bit out of character! But I figure turning 60 is a thing to celebrate, so I made myself a cake with 60 candles. I didn't have a real cake because I don't need the calories, but this one was fun to make and I laughed as I made it.

The only sad part was missing a good friend Roberta, who died 3 years ago. She was always the one to make sure I had a 'zero' birthday party...30, 40, 50. But we had family visiting this weekend and went out to dinner Sunday, so I sort of had a party, and felt good within the loving thoughts of family and friends. Facebook has feature that reminds you of the birthdays of your friends, so I got lots of Happy Birthday wishes. What a great feature!

I'm really thrilled to have finished 11 months of the journal. I've been thinking about what I want to do next year. One idea, have friends and family each contribute a small 'found' object to incorporate in each piece. I want pieces to be a different shape and less representational. It is nice to have extra time to plan.

Monday, July 6, 2009

June 2009 Peas and Strawberries

It has been an interesting experience coming up with a theme each month for this project. I now have 10 squares completed and I find that I don't really pre-plan too much. Every month is a different time and mood. June is all about peas and strawberries from our garden. They don't last long, so you have to enjoy them while you can, or freeze them. We have snow peas, sugar snap peas and garden peas, so picking has been an every other day event.

I'm lucky to live where we can have a big garden, and to have a husband who likes to do most of the work in the vegetable garden. I'm in charge of the flower beds, and they are rather out of control this year. I look at pictures from a couple of years ago and wonder where all those huge plants came from. They aren't the dainty, neatly separated plantings I intended. When you have something in the garden that is easy to grow (daylilies, phlox, coneflowers, sedum, etc.) they develop a mind of their own. One of these days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 2009

Now I'm caught up, having finished May before the end of the month. There is a little strip of ground on the north side of our garage where we have planted ferns and trilliums. Every year they multiply, but slowly. Every year I vow to remember to water them but usually forget. I guess they don't mind a little benign neglect. I have a friend who only puts up with very hardy plants in her garden. If they take too much fussing, she doesn't want them. Of course her definition of not fussing is way more attentive than mine, so I'm glad these early spring wonders just grow all by themselves. I hope everyone is enjoying May, the best month of the year, in my opinion!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


April is wonderful.. Everyday you look for what is newly in bloom, forsythia and daffodils, and of course dandelions. This piece was rather intentionally done in a child-like primitive style. The sun in the corner, the generic flower. But the forsythia is pretty real as are the rain drops. At the end of the month we are really into spring, waiting for each new bloom and weeding those pesky dandelions. I finished this piece in May, but my mood is still pure April...fresh, excited and forward looking. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

March is finally done. Red-winged blackbirds are my personal proof that spring will return and the earth will grow again. They always show up at our pond the first week of March like clockwork. Do they know how important they are to me? Not likely, lol.

The males love to show off their red and gold epaulets, and make a lot of noise claiming their territories. At the same time the goldfinches are getting their gold back and the mourning doves are getting their mating feistiness back. Spring is just amazing!

I'm so grateful that Robin sponsors this project. I've learned so much, more than I can really put into words. (I guess that is why it is a visual journal...duh) My first 7 pieces look like this, with April still empty but planned and May just a glimmer of color.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blue February

I love hearts and have made them with PMC, wire, seed beads, crystals and glass, like in my February journal piece. February is a big transition the beginning of the month I'm still feeling the winter blues, thus a blue heart, not a red one! The heart is made with Effetre white and periwinkle, a really lovely glass color to work with. Not too drippy, not too stiff. I wanted to keep this piece simple and just echo the glass heart in blues and whites.

By the end of February there are sign of spring. We have a large pond with cattails that is a prime red wing blackbird haven and we always see them return the first week of March. Right on schedule we saw the first one yesterday. They haven't begun their territorial vocalizing yet, but that will be next. I also start imagining the gathering energy in the roots of my perennials, just waiting for the soil to warm up a little. Can you tell I like spring?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Snowflakes all over the place! We've had a near record snowfall so far this season, and snowflakes were a natural theme. It was fun to make so many varieties of snowflakes. The lampworked snowflake on the right was an easy disk with built up dots of clear and white. I thought about etching it, but left it shiny. I actually made 2, and used the other for a friend's birthday necklace. I'll have to borrow it back and take a picture.
I was a little concerned about this piece being so monochromatic, but I figure that this month is pretty monochromatic! Plus, when I get all the pieces joined, this piece might provide a little rest for the eyes, since my other pieces have plenty of color.
I'm still debating February. I could do hearts, and that would challenge me to make some lampworked hearts. I'm a little late getting started, but I'll catch up, I promise! I was busy in January helping our beadmakers group plan our annual retreat. We took over a bed&breakfast in Kalamazoo, and also had the wonderful facilities of the West Michigan Glass Society. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. We just played for almost 3 days, with member taught classes, evening workshops and lots of laughter. This was our 3rd year sponsoring the retreat, and each year gets better. We've already booked next year!

What a winter it has been. Large snowfalls, most of which is still on the ground. I imagine we'll be close to a record for the season. Our driveway curves and goes up hill, and has beaten more than one poor driver! But snow is supposed to be a good insulator for the perennial garden, so it can stay until the really cold weather is done.

This piece looks a little dark, and it is very monochromatic. I wanted a variety of snowflaks, just like you see on a snowy day. The lampworked bead on the right side middle is just a disk with white and clear dots built up. I made another one that I used for a friend's birthday present. I'll have to borrow it and take a picture. It was simple and lovely.