Bead Soup Partner

Lori of Pretty Things assigned partners over the weekend, and in spite of the state of my blog, I’m in the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party!

Donetta of Simply Gorgeous is my partner for this swap.  I’m pretty excited that we’re partners for several reasons.  She lives in Portland, Oregon, which is practically a hop, skip, and jump from my home in the Seattle area.  I love Portland and hope we’ll make it back down there this summer with the kids.

Since Portland is so close, I’m going to commit to making the piece I was considering for my focal.  Looking at the calendar and the other things on my schedule in the next week or so, I know it’ll be tight to get it done and in the mail by July 2nd.  But since Donetta is so close, if I’m late by a day or two, then it will still get to her pretty quickly.

I think we also make good partners because, like me, her site isn’t quite where she wants it right now.  She is in the process of moving, so she has a much better excuse than I do.  The BSBP will be a great opportunity for both of us to get to updating and posting again.

By browsing her blog, I get the impression that she likes to do exchanges and challenges as much as I do.  In fact, I love the pieces she did with the Suddenly Spring Challenge in March.

I think we’re a match made in heaven.  I can’t wait to get to work on my soup mix, and I’m pretty excited to see what she sends my way.

6th Bead Soup Blog Party

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is hosting the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party!  Sign-ups are going on now.  If you are not familiar with the party, you sign-up, Lori assigns you a partner, and then you exchange some beads with your partner.

You must send a focal piece, a fancy clasp (no boring plated lobster claps!) and a collection of coordinating beads. It’s a pretty laid back exchange, but some of the ladies are quite generous with what the send along.

Once you receive your beads, you stew (har, har) over them and create a piece.  Of course, you must use your focal piece and clasp, but after that, it’s all up to you.

Then on reveal day (and for several days later), you and all the participants reveal their pieces and everyone jumps around to the blogs to see what was created with their mystery ingredients. I promise that it’s as much fun as it sounds – even more.

I was one of the participants in the very first Bead Soup Blog Party.  Back then, it was a “small” group of 84 participants.  The party has grown so much since the first party back in February of 2010.

I also participated in the 2nd party with nearly 100 participants, which was a ton of fun.

But by the time the 3rd party came along, I was pregnant with baby girl and did not have it in me to participate.  I also missed out on parties four and five.

Each successive party has grown larger than the last, so this time Lori made the decision to spread the party out over 3 dates.  I’ve remained on the email list for the parties because I’ve had so much fun with them, and hoped that one day I’d be able to play again.

When I read that party #6 would be the last one for this year and that it would now be switching to an annual party, I decided it was time to play again.  Since I am working on bringing my site back to life and combining blogs, I decided to give myself the most time by selecting the 3rd reveal date.

I’m all signed up and ready to join the party.  I even know what I want to make for my swap partner – if I can get myself together enough to create it.

Resistance is Futile

I often find myself doing a lot of thinking about goals… what am I trying to accomplish? what do I want to spend my time on? what am I learning? how am I growing? what is my “big picture”? how am I getting there?

Towards the end of 2011, I decided I needed to narrow my creative focus.  With three little ones – one of them six-months-old and not the biggest fan of going to bed at night – I realized that by trying to focus on jewelry creation, photography, and web design, I was not even coming close to accomplishing any of them well.

I decided I would give up jewelry creation for 2012.  I wouldn’t buy new supplies (unless I found some irresistible deal), wouldn’t take any classes, wouldn’t design any new pieces, wouldn’t attempt selling, and wouldn’t even make any gifts.  Once I made the decision, I felt like a weight was lifted off me.  It was the right thing to give myself permission *not* to do.

Instead, I would make the conscious decision to focus primarily on improving my photography skills and secondarily on web design.  I knew that trying to create jewelry with a little one would be a fight for both of us, but photography was something I could work on while being with her.

I was doing a fairly decent job of it for the first five months of the year.  I’ve switched to only shooting in manual.  I’m improving, but I’ve hit a kind of wall.  Something is not “clicking” (so to speak), but that’s a post for another time.  My frustration has made me pick up the camera less and less in the last several weeks.

Then yesterday two things happened so close together that I’m not sure which one came first.

I received Lori Anderson’s email about early signup for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party, and my first thought was, “that’s nice”.  And then I started thinking, “what if I did…?”

At nearly the same time, a message popped up from Facebook from my friend and kind of jewelry creation mentor, Melissa Cable.  I have lots of gushing to do about Melissa, but not right now.

Melissa is working on publishing her second book, which is going to contain her metal garden series.  She was messaging my sister-in-law and me about needing some help cutting flowers for the cover art.  I didn’t even hesitate with my enthusiastic, “Yes!!”

Those two things have told me that, no, I am not giving up jewelry creation for this year.  And I’m okay with that.  Back in November, I needed to give myself permission to give something up, and now, I’m okay with giving myself permission to shift my focus around a bit.  Opportunities arise, and as I am constantly telling myself, nothing is permanent.