Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite

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Lapis Lazuli Necklace

On one of my gemstone buying trips, I had a list of colors that I wanted to add to my collection.  Blue is a very popular color for jewelry, but I didn’t have much blue available in my stash.  Naturally, blue was on my list.

Since I didn’t/don’t know a thing about gemstones, I chose strands based solely on their beauty and affordability.  I found this gorgeous strand of smooth, almost silky, blue chips.  I have a bit of trouble designing with chips, so I knew I needed something to go with them.  On a distant corner table, I was fortunate enough to find a strand of carved rectangle focal beads that matched perfectly!  The tags on the two strands were labeled differently – the chips were Lapis Lazuli and the rectangles were Sodalite – but since they matched so perfectly, I figured this stone must have multiple names.

It turns out that Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite are in fact two different stones, but they are often mistaken for each other.  Lapis Lazuli can be found in many places including Canada, Colorado and California.  It is sensitive to strong pressure and high temperatures.  Sodalite is also found in many places including Canada and Montana.  It often contains white veins from white calcite.  (Interesting stuff (yawn), I know!)

Although I’m not sure how I feel about the validity of healing with gemstones, I am fascinated by the theory and would really enjoy learning more about it.  I did find that Lapis Lazuli is thought to help with headaches, sore throat, sciatica, varicose veins, and blisters.  Do you have a favorite book about healing with gemstones?  I’d love to hear from you!

Life Outside of My Studio

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I always spend every spare moment I can muster in my studio, but sometimes there are no spare moments to be had.  Last week was one of those times.  My goal is to post at least once per week to keep myself motivated and let you know what’s been going on.  However, since nothing happened in my studio last week, I’ve decided to make a new category titled ‘Life Outside of my Studio’ (because that happens sometimes).

Last week was full of kids’ activities.  Tuesday and Thursday held basketball practice for my middle child.  She also had two games on Saturday and played wonderfully in both.  My son, the youngest, had Tae Kwon Do on Wednesday,  after which, the whole family went to a spaghetti dinner fund raiser.  The food was yummy and it was a nice break from cooking.  On Friday, my oldest had her first Valentine’s day with a boyfriend (I can’t believe she’s old enough for a bf already, yike!!).

To top off the scatter of three active children, I also hold a part time job.  I usually work about 18 hours per week, but last week they sprung 33 hours on me!  I appreciate the extra pay that comes with the extra hours… I just don’t care for the extra work that comes with the extra hours, lol.

Our smokehouse with 100 pounds of ring bologna.

Our smokehouse with 100 pounds of ring bologna.

And, finally, for the cherry of the week, my adoring husband surprised me with the task of making ring bologna over the weekend.  Yesterday we took 50 pounds of venison and 50 pounds of pork up to my in-laws house to grind, mix and season.  We then stuffed 100 pounds of ring bologna and are smoking it today.  It should be ready to be packaged and put into the freezers sometime this evening.

Looking back at the week, it seems like I squeezed in quite a bit of activity.  I successfully navigated children, work and home.  I even finished up my tax paperwork!  That being said, my mind is screaming for some downtime in my studio.  We’ll see what next week brings!

Don’t be Afraid of Mistakes

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Beyonce Peyote BraceletIt has been a long and busy week for me.  I didn’t have a lot of time for beading projects, but I was able to finish a celebrity photo bracelet of Beyoncé.  I’m not completely happy with the shading, however I’ve decided to leave it as it is.  Perhaps I’ll adjust the shading if I do another one.

As an artist, I know that I am probably my toughest critic (beside my mother).  I get disappointed easily when the vision in my head doesn’t transfer to the beads.  Even though the end result may be something to be proud of, if it wasn’t what I was expecting it probably won’t be one of my favorite pieces.

That being said, I also know that it’s impossible to make something that I am proud of if I am too afraid to begin.  Often times I find myself procrastinating on a project because I don’t know exactly how it will turn out.  If I don’t have a clear vision of the finished piece and a pretty good idea of how I will accomplish that vision… nothing happens, good or bad.

We can’t be afraid to make mistakes.  How should we learn if not by mistakes?  I tell myself over and over that time spent with my beads is never wasted.  Even if I spend hours trying to figure out a stitch only to throw the end result in the trash, that time was well spent.  How else would I learn that that particular stitch won’t work for whatever I was trying to do?  Every mistake we make should be cataloged in the backs of our brains into a master file labeled ‘Don’t Do That Again’.  My file is pretty big and many of the folders have several copies of the same mistake.

Always always always, show up at your beads (or paint, or yarn, or paper, or whatever) with an open mind.  Let your art tell you what to do.  If it doesn’t work out, great!  Now you know for next time!  But most likely, it will turn out to be a fine piece of work that is worthy of your pride.