Friday, February 26, 2010

Sharpening Your Point of View

Much has been written about the value of failure. Although we cringe at that word, we learn far more about how to succeed when things go wrong than when things go right. By experiencing what doesn't work, we gain a world of knowledge about how to improve our operational methods to produce a lasting success. Failure, though frustrating, forces us to change our perspective; it pushes us not only to think outside the box, but to tip the box upside down and look at it from odd angles, leading us to moments of enlightenment. Getting stuck in the creative grind helps to sharpen our points of view.

Well, I admit, I am still waiting for that grand "aha" moment to occur in my recent crafting misadventure with glue. Yet I know that it will occur somewhere along the line if I just keep trying new vantage points while viewing my adhesion problem. I have been attempting to bring life to a few jewelry designs that combine lucite (plastic) and glass cabochons and metal settings, but I haven't been able to find a glue or epoxy that passes my durability testing. It's a sticky situation indeed...or rather, a lack of stickiness! All the most popular adhesives have failed miserably, even with proper surface preparation and curing time. Will I have to abandon my designs and shove these lovely little flower elements to the back of my crafting stash? I hope not.

I think I just need to let the project alone for awhile to give my tired brain a chance to process the gluey data. A certain period of coming unglued, pun intended, is required to let go of preconceived design ideas before new ones can assemble themselves. Very often, in the deep recesses of the night during sleep, while driving, or while in the shower, the mind has an epiphany. The curious child that still resides in those dusty mental corners comes out to play with that problematic "box," looking inside it and turning it every which way until a light bulb clicks on that illuminates an answer. Be aware, however, that the answer might not be - probably won't be, the one you expected or even desired. And you will have many interim moments of throwing your hands in the air in disgust and defeat. Don't despair! The aftereffect of creative failure and re-examination is usually a more viable concept even if it looks entirely different from your original mental picture of the project. At this point, all you are required to do is keep the box open in the back of your mind so that your inner child can come out to play.

So, for now, I have put these half-completed pieces of jewelry in a "pending box" (top open, of course) while I wait for further inspiration. I have plenty of other things to do in the meantime!

One other ingredient that helps sharpen focus on a problem is ample aesthetic input; while you are waiting for creative insight, absorb all the colors, sights, sounds, smells, words, and textures in your surroundings. You never know when one seemingly insignificant piece of data could be the one that was missing from your original design equation.

Here are some wonderful ways in which BBEST artisans help give us a little change in point of view.

A clever way of arranging items in a photograph gives a fresh impression of a wearable item.
from ByTheBy

 Open the windows to let light in, physically and symbolically.

Feeling sleepy? Wake up and smell the coffee!

 Listen to the music of your soul

Revel in the wonder of your inner child

Experience the simple pleasures of nature

Perhaps a little comfort food is needed

Wait...and then wait some patient

Prescription: Have a healthy dose of color every day

Laugh, smile, play and be joyous...tomorrow's a new day

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BBEST Bookies

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the first week in March is Return a Borrowed Book Week.  As a recovering librarian, I’ve seen the stigma, pain, and disgust associated with book felony, and would like to extend a hand of support to any who suffer from this malady.  This is the chance to get right with your friends, relatives, teachers and libraries:  make atonement!  Return your delinquent materials during this time of amnesty – librarians will look the other way and no pejorative remarks will be made!

il_fullxfull.119043974[1]It’s also a good time to mention our BBEST bookies.  We’ve got a few authors in our midst.  One of them is our own Myfanwy Hart, who’ll autograph your copy of her how-to book on tools and felt making, entitled The Embellisher:  Let’s Get Started!  Although nearly unpronounceable (to Yanks, anyway), Myfwany’s name is popping up more and more frequently in craft circles, so you’d better order your first edition before she becomes too famous!

il_fullxfull.111302490[1]Liz Plummer prints wonderful covers for Moleskin pocket books.  I’ve found these little books essential when traveling – just stick one in purse or bookbag and write down all your good ideas. il_fullxfull.101070780[1]  

Long-time BBESTer Judy, aka Mr. Penquin, has wonderful foldable books that are  intriguing gifts for all ages.  il_fullxfull.66996949[1] At JN Originals, she also makes beautiful wool needle books for the stitchers in our lives. 



Book Wraps makes folios and book covers.  Her delightful stitched journal covers make room for a pen or pencil in a little pocket in the back.

BBESTers also offer bookmarks, book plates, vintage books, pins using book illustrations and all kinds of wonderful things book-related.  You can see them all by searching BBEST books.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I was bummed! Sally was snowed in and couldn’t get out of her driveway. Thankfully, the electricity hadn’t gone off when the big snow hit, and there was still Instant Messaging. I was sitting there virtually chatting with Sally, when I said to myself, “Hmmm. Think I’ll check out the Etsy treasury and see how close it is to opening up.” Wrote to Sally, “Be back in a few!”

The list totaled 344 with about an hour to go. “Should be able to create a treasury in that time,” I thought. So, off I went to look for a theme……… sounded nice! (And it is never a problem to find marvelous, gorgeous, beautiful, fabulous creations when one looks for items created by members of the Boomers and Beyond Team.) Thank goodness for the Poster Sketch Tool that lets one move photos around to arrange them just so!

Back to the IM. I wrote, “Oh, Sally, just wait till you see this treasury of Bbest creations! Now, the only trick is being there when the window opens. Be right back.” “No problem,” Sally replied.

Down to 15 minutes, 8 minutes, 3 minutes. Decided I’d better just wait right there. Wallah! The box opened, and off I went entering the listing numbers in the small boxes and watching the photos magically appear. About half way through, the numbers weren’t going into the boxes! Seemed frozen. My guess was the Etsy servers were simply overloaded with treasury makers! After a few minutes, I was able to finish it.

Back to the IM. “Sally, it’s finished. Here is the listing number so you can go check it out! Let me know what you like the best,” I wrote. “I will move the alternates into the treasury before it expires so all have a chance to be seen.”

It wasn’t long before I saw the IM flashing. Sally was back. “I’m in awe,” she wrote. “I can’t choose a favorite….I like them all!”

“Me, too,” I replied. “So much that I’m going to put the the active photos and the alternates here as well…..never know how many folks might see them here on the blog! Also, the treasury will expire on Wednesday, and so the photos will be here well after that!”

zuda gay

night sky jewelry


jills treasure chest

janine maves



fantasy creations




button divas

van fleet street designs


beth peardon prods

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The ‘S’ word!

I wasn’t going to but couldn’t resist mentioning the dreaded ‘S’ word or ‘SNOW’.  Some of us, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been experiencing snowfalls that we will remember for many a year.  I can hear it already, ‘Do you remember in 2009, or was it 2010, when we were snowed in/under/on?’  Kids who don’t experience it will be amazed at the photographs!  But who wants to look at photographs of the white stuff when the BBEST team on Etsy can produce some of the most amazing work which has been influenced by snow?

imageLittle Winter Tree – original water colour ACEO by ColoursandTextures


Mother of Pearl Snowman earrings by KatzKreations

imageHearts in the Snow earrings by Magdalene Jewels

image  Snow White ruffled scarf by BlazingNeedles

imageLittle House in the Snow – mini art quilt by Libertybelle

imageNative American beaded earrings (snow flakes) by JStinson

imageSnow Hare Cards by SixSisters

imageSnow Storm earrings by Gimmebeads

All the above items are amazing! What talent!!

However, although the snow has been an inspiration for many I think the time is drawing near when heads will turn to Spring and a renewed birth of a new season.   

I hope you don’t mind but I have included this post in my personal blog too!  I just wanted to show you all off to the world.

Thank you!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

O is for ........


Now there is one word that I hesitate to use in connection with the Bbest team, however, as they are all my friends, and I'm one of them too, I'm going to be brave and use it in a whisper.  I'll take it in the spirit in which it is intended - and I know you all will too!

O is for * L D !

You see you really can find anything you want by searching for the bbest team but I actually didn't expect to find anything when I added 'old' into the equation.

I was wrong!

How about these fun and funky upcycled mini envelopes?

circleinthesand made them with extreme precision from an old shopping bag.  There's a mini card included too, and I think they are great fun.

We have many artists on the team, and all are very talented.  This is just one of the original offerings you will find

The Old Mill Stream is an original watercolour by backroomtreasures.  It's very evocative, isn't it.

We have talented photographers too.  Another evocative offering comes from Susan Elkin

Whately Diner brings back memories of another era and to us over the pond looks like a film set!

If you are looking for 'old' brought bang up to date this is just the thing.

An Old Glory Beaded Pen by jstinson would look wonderful lying on your desk.  It's far too beautiful to have nestling in your bag.

There's nothing like an old-fashioned romance to bring a tear to the eye, and these earrings look as though they have 'stepped' right out of a film

Created by eversodear they are perfect for that old fashioned romance.

Old School Pinbacks are also from a different era

Aren't these fun!  You'll find them at joonbeam

Lastly I found something new, but with an 'old' twist.

This Romantic Heart Pendant which combines clay and crochet is beautifully presented here by artsyclay.

It's fun to search for Bbest team and another word.  Give it a try and see what you come up with.

See you next time for 'P'!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Celebrate Your Love!

I used to hate Valentines Day -- and Mother's Day -- and my birthday, and I didn't even particularly enjoy Christmas. Why? Let me tell you!

When I met my now husband of almost 40 years, he was an amazing gift giver! He wooed me -- not just with the usual flowers and candy, but with love poems he penned and fun things like sending me on a hunt with notes to discover little gifts "just because." He even had his friends write notes (his wording) in their own handwriting on postcards to tell me "be watching," "something is coming," "you have a secret admirer," and more. He was a very creative guy in the romance department -- and a hunk, too!

After we got married, things changed. Life happened.  During our third year of marriage, my husband started down a path of higher education as a perpetual student (over eleven years of higher education and now two masters and a doctorate). Of course, that meant I was the "support person" -- and more so because we had six boys to raise.

I tried not to be disappointed when I got a humorous card for a birthday with a squished piece of gum in it (because he sat on it while it was in his pocket on his way to the party). I tried not to cry when Valentine's Day came and went and he forgot. I tried really hard not be be angry when Mother's Day came and went and he didn't take the boys to find some little card for me. I was well on the way to becoming bitter because my expectations were never met -- and I felt like I had been set up -- wooed and then duped. Until. . . . .

. . .Until the year I realized I had become so wrapped up in my own expectations, I was the one setting myself up for hurt! That year, I decided I would not leave hints for Valentine's Day or watch with expectation for what I hoped to get. Instead, I decided I would think of ways I could show my own love not just for my husband, but my sons as well. I decided I would not just celebrate Valentine's Day in a special way, but I would celebrate the "14 Days of Valentines -- starting with February 1st!"

I went to the store and bought kid valentines, construction paper, sidewalk chalk, conversation hearts, ribbon, doilies, chocolate hearts, heart stickers and more. Then, each day I carefully showed my love to each one of my sons and my husband -- tucking little notes or a conversation heart in a lunch, taping construction paper hearts onto items with fun thoughts. Onto a light switch you might have found, "You light up my life." On the bathroom mirror I taped, "That's the face I love," and more. I wrote notes in sidewalk chalk where I knew my husband or the boys would be walking home from school. Every day I gave a small gift -- and my own anticipation and excitement grew. I knew they would be looking for what else I was going to come up with in the spirit of 14 days of my celebration of love for them.

I discovered something amazing in the process of celebrating my love that year -- that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive! I am celebrating the 14 Days of Valentines again this year. My husband and I have been in a very difficult financial place -- and it could be a holiday of feeling down -- if I let it. Instead, I have been looking at things I can make and do to make this a very special time of year -- ways to celebrate my love in spite of the circumstances.

My challenge to you is to look for someone who needs love and get creative in ways to show them you care -- it could be your spouse, a significant other, a son or daughter -- or even a co-worker or neighbor. Celebrate the 14 Days of Valentines with me -- starting today, February 1st!

If you want some ideas of things to give, I found some terrific items in BBest shops to get your creative juices flowing.

Tuck a secret message into this very special valentine box -- perhaps a message a day? by Chris1

Send a quilted postcard through the mail along with your special message. Attackofthevintage has lots in her shop!

Sprinkle a few of these delightful confetti heart shapes by circleinthesand around the place settings at breakfast or on a co-worker's desk before they arrive at work!


Tuck a tiny bouquet of flowers or some favorite candy into this fun little stoneware tumbler with hearts by fehustoneware. It would be a fun gift with the pens shown, too!


Bring a cup of coffee in to waken that someone special with this adorable Valentine Mug Rug by blazingneedles to rest it on!
 This little set of "raining hearts" silhouette cards by MisterPenQuin will provide you with several days worth of notes to share your love!
These "Scottish Love" sweet pinbacks by JoonBeam would be a great addition to your little love note message, giving you a way to tack them up in a special spot!

Lovingly wrap this "Broken Hearts" hand knit scarf by bytheby around your honey's neck as he leaves, telling him to stay warm and keep safe and come back home soon!

When your sweetheart comes home, share some wine along with chocolate covered strawberries using these lovely hand painted wine goblets by GlitznGlass!

Hang this Sweet Heart Dream Catcher by jstinson above the bed to whisper your love.


Last -- but not least, light this  Hearts A Glow Tealight by CBBasement on the nightstand to speak softly of your love through the flicker of candlelight.

I hope these ideas get the creative juices flowing -- and that you too will enjoy celebrating your love by giving it away this year!