Category Archives: My Life

A foggy morning

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Oh, I love foggy mornings! Yesterday was deliciously foggy – and my day off – so I happily headed out early before the sun had a chance to burn through. I stopped at a little fishing trail to the creek, and just a few steps in I came across these-

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They’re fairy mushrooms – aren’t they adorable? Like tiny umbrellas for woodland creatures!

Wildflowers were blooming prettily along the trail, and the air smelled wonderful with that sweet, rich scent of late summer here in the Ozarks.

 

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Another thing I enjoy about this time of year are the spider webs everywhere – on the ground, festooned from tree branches, even on sign posts along the road.

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What I really love is when they’re decorated with dewdrops that look like tiny beaded necklaces!

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As I got closer to the water the fog grew thicker, and I stopped at a part of the creek with lots of dead trees and strange growth close to the water that has a cool, mysterious look to it all year long. I love it, and one of these days I’m gonna see if my son can get me out there in his boat.

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That’s a Great Blue Heron on that branch in the distance. So glad I caught him – right after this he took off with a rusty squawk and several flaps of his huge wings.

From here I decided to drive over to Empire Park on Lake Taneycomo. I just had to take a picture of my favorite trees – cottonwoods. I love how their leaves sparkle and rustle with the slightest of breezes!

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As I walked along the lake I saw ducks paddling in the water, and was surprised to see another heron standing motionless by the shore-

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All in all, it was an hour well spent – thanks for coming along!

A fine fall day

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A few days ago I had the distinct pleasure of spending a warm fall afternoon wandering around in my favorite city, Chicago. My husband and I both grew up in Chicagoland, but moved from the area over 20 years ago so it’s always exciting to come home.

We took a Metra train into the city, which is part of the fun. That day the Cubs were playing the Pirates at “the friendly confines” of Wrigley Field, and many of the other train passengers were wearing Cubs shirts or jerseys.

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People might joke about the Cubs but they’ve definitely got loyal fans – my mom was a diehard fan most of her life.  And hey, maybe this is the year they’ll actually make it!

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Just a block from the train station is the mighty Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. See those tiny boxes way up at the top? They’re made of thick glass, and the last time I was here I walked out into one and enjoyed the view from 104 stories up – it was fun, and not scary like I thought it would be!

On State Street I noticed that I could see three Chicago icons at the same time – one of the Marshall Field clocks, the Chicago Theater sign and the Marina Towers, so I managed to get them all in the same shot-

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I also couldn’t help but notice a name we’ve been seeing a lot of lately!

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As I walked along I kept hearing what sounded like a parade, and as I came around the corner I saw a marching band performing in Daley Plaza under the watchful eyes of the Picasso sculpture. I think he was enjoying it as much as everyone else!

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Next I went over a couple blocks to Michigan Avenue, as no walk around the loop is complete without stopping at Millennium Park.

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After the usual silly selfie taken in the reflection of the Bean, I was delighted to see some new sculptures in the park. This lovely series of faces are by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, and are beautifully serene.

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This one literally has her head in the clouds!

My last stop was the Art Institute, and as I walked through the little park next to it I came upon a photo shoot of a gorgeous model in a wonderful ruffled skirt in vivid red. She looked like a painting come to life!

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By now it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided to head back to the train station to beat the commuter rush. Even though it was only a couple of hours, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking in the sights and sounds of the city I love – hope you did too!

Mannequin Mania

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I have a new obsession. It involves taking  paper mache mannequins like this one

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and making them look like these, using a combination of craft paint and metal reactive patina paints.

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The process is kind of messy, somewhat unpredictable and so much fun! Best of all, the result is that rusty, grungy chippy paint look that I love, and works perfectly with my jewelry style.

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Since it doesn’t look like I’m gonna be able to stop making these (it’s too much fun!) I’ve started offering some for sale. If you’re local, you can see them, and some lilruby jewelry too – at Harrison House Market in Ozark!

Peekaboo

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Apparently all babies love to play peekaboo – even equine babies! I was hoping to get some pictures of a couple of foals at a neighbor’s ranch, so I just sat on the ground with my camera and waited, hoping that curiosity would bring them close enough. The little guy here is a Missouri Foxtrotter, and he’s 3 weeks old.

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His mama, bless her heart, brought him right to me – but he was shy and kept trying to hide behind her. At first he peeked at me through the cover of her tail-

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Then he inched around her and peeked under her belly-

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Finally, he got brave enough to come closer!

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Have you ever seen such a sweet face – he’s so adorable!

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But now the game was over, and with a saucy flip of his tail and what looked for all the world like a wink of his eye, he and his mama moved off to the far side of the pasture. I’ll have to stop by and see if he wants to play again in a few days!

September in January

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Mother Nature gave us a gift today – a beautiful 60 degree day that seemed more like mid September than mid January! We decided to take advantage of it and get outside, and since we’re just minutes away from Arkansas we headed to the Buffalo River area which is endlessly beautiful. Missouri is gorgeous too, but when you get into the hills in northwestern Arkansas you really know you’re in the Ozarks! We ended up at Steel Creek, which is a state park we hadn’t visited yet.

When we got to the park at the bottom of a steep, winding road we were rewarded with views of huge bluffs decorated with frozen waterfalls like this one.

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Below the bluff is the creek – quiet, shady and very cold at the area where the mountain blocks the sun, and bright and sunny just around the bend.

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There’s a horse camp there also, and we saw a group of riders enjoying the trail and crossing the stream – what could be more fun than that!

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Warm sun, clear skies and driving with my husband through the beautiful blue hills of the Ozarks equals a perfect day off and a great way to shake the mid -winter blues!

 

 

Looking for magic

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It’s the reason why I’ve gotten into the habit of taking my camera everywhere I go – even if my only planned destination is Walmart or the gas station. I never know when something will catch my eye – the way the sunlight hits a leaf or a field of dandelions, the quiet dignity of an abandoned house or my favorite! – the glow of the plump full moon as it suddenly appears over the hills. I’ve come to think of it as looking for magic, and I never know when it’ll happen. When it does though, my heart beats faster, I jump out of the car and lose myself in trying to capture it.

I don’t have an expensive camera, and I have so much to learn about photography but now and then I manage to get a shot that sparks my imagination and gives me a little feeling of that magic. Here are a few of my favorites-

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Weeds decorated with caps of frost.

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Sunday morning sunlight bursting through the trees.

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Just some cows in a field, but the sun and the mist give it the look of an old painting.

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A suddenly bright sunset reflected in the rain slicked street right after a thunderstorm.

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The sun rising through heavy lake mist, making it look more like a full moon.

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The sunset lighting the window of an abandoned farmhouse, making it look lived in again, even if just for a moment.

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Huge fluffy dandelions!

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And the moon – always the moon!

BSBP8 reveal!

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The time has come and it’s reveal day for Bead Soup Blog Party #8! My partner this year is Kim Paige of Red Tree Studio. Kim is a very gifted artist who specializes in metal clay, and *wow* is her work amazing!

Before I show you the fabulous soup she sent and what I did with it, here’s what I sent to her-

Soup #1

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This was the first soup I sent to Kim – a handcarved mother of pearl pendant, some large irregularly faceted cut glass beads in the palest shade of pink, three kinds of pewter beads, tiny garnets, a moonstone and sterling clasp and silk ribbon.

And here’s soup #2. While the first one was all soft and pastel, this one was darker and more rustic-

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I sent wood agate and bone beads, metal studded wood cones, vintage white hearts, an oversized toggle,  large ceramic focal and a sweet little Czech glass owl. Two soups, two very different looks!

 

Now for the soup I received from Kim – wow!

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Leather cords, bronzite, bone, wood and shell beads, copper beads and chain, a beautiful copper S hook clasp – and Kim’s specialty – exquisite metal clay leaves and branches. The detail is incredible on these! Kim told me that she used blueberry leaves from her backyard for the texture.

 

….And here’s what I came up with-

 

First off I paired one of the leaves with pretty copper beads, tiny cobalt blue agates and a bird charm that I painted to match.

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Next, I used one of the little branches along with some fire agates for a bracelet that reminds me of Springtime in the woods-

 

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Then, I used another of the leaves along with Czech glass, a rusty metal flower, sari ribbon, cuckoo clock chain and a vintage skeleton key from my grandmother’s basement for a rustic boho necklace.  This will be a favorite that I’ll wear often!

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Next up, I decided to use the S hook clasp as a bail for an amazing rough cut amethyst from Plum Bazaar, which is the wonderful bead shop in downtown Branson where I started working a couple of months ago – yes, it’s definitely a dream job!

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OK, on to the exquisite curved leaf focal – this was the biggest challenge for me. I tried several different chains, silk ribbons, beads of all colors – but in the end I decided to keep it simple and just let the beauty of the leaf speak for itself. I threaded it with some copper micro ball chain and three strands of tiny jade tubes. Simple and lovely!

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Another great find from Plum Bazaar led to this bracelet and earrings – these are vintage copper coins from India. I punched holes in them, painted them with cobalt blue Vintaj patina and then sanded them back. The bright copper beads and chain from Kim add just the right accent along with tiny blue agate beads.

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Finally, I used the same process on a couple of the white bone beads – painted them and wiped it back – for one more pair of earrings. These are strung with some pierced sterling silver beads I’ve had forever. I think they have a nice summer-y look to them!

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So there you have it – 8 pieces for the 8th BSBP! As always, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it, and I so appreciate Lori Anderson’s hard work and dedication for putting it all together each year. Now, go check out all the other bead soupers!

Here’s the link:

http://www.prettythingsblog.com/2014/05/welcome-to-8th-bead-soup-blog-party.html