January 14, 2015

Winning and Sinning

Why do I participate in so many online beading challenges? Not for the prizes, but for the motivation and the challenge. It really pushes me to do things I wouldn't otherwise attempt.  It's been very fruitful for me.

HOWEVER.  There are prizes too. For each monthly challenge completed, there is a drawing among the participants for a small prize... I won it once, and it was fun to receive my beads from someone in Wales! But also, beaders receive one point for each completion. Then there are additional points throughout the year for various "flash" challenges. At the end of the year, everyone's points are accumulated, and there is a random drawing for a larger prize.

Guess who won this year's grand prize???  That's right -- ME!!

I gotta tell you, I had no idea it would be so amazing. But today the prize package arrived, and I'm... not exactly speechless, but just sort of blubbering. It's so much beautiful stuff, so generous, such quality... each little bit wrapped separately, like a birthday in January... I'm stunned.  It's like "Dayenu": just the challenges would have been enough, just the new friendships would have been enough, just learning new stitches and discovering new resources would have been enough, but there's even more!  This is over-the-top.

A basic principle of all of our beading challenges is that we try as much as possible to use existing "stash," meaning beads we already own. Buying new stuff is jokingly referred to as "sinning."  Of course, we end up "sinning" a lot in between, but we really do try to complete the challenges with only stash. When people confess to their bead shopping sprees, they are sent to the "Naughty Step," or as the British members call it, the "Norty Step."

So perhaps the best part of the prize I won is a little slip of paper enclosed, which exempts me from the Naughty Step for a full year!!  Get that Visa card ready, here I come....

I'm so grateful to the OTTBS moderators! They do such a great job. And this group has been one of my best experiences ever.

January 11, 2015

Beading For Charity

"Bead-it-Forward" is an annual project in the beading world, where beaders worldwide contribute little 2-inch beaded squares to an auction which raises money for Breast Cancer research. Originally the squares were to be made into one big quilt for auction. But the project grew too big for that (and the quilt would be terribly heavy), so now the squares are auctioned individually, or in small groupings of 2 or 3. 
In my online beading group, there are two fantastic women who collect all of the squares from our group, one in Europe and one in North America. They finish the squares with tiny frames, or group them onto a ribbon, and forward them along to the group running the sale. Our items are listed together so we can bid on each others' work. 

This is my second year contributing to the project, and it will be my third year bidding on it. Each year there is a theme. This year's theme is "Wild About Finding a Cure," so squares are requested to have an animal theme.  Here are my three contributions. The third one also fulfills this month's theme challenge for the online beading group, which is to use a song title or lyrics. After deciding to do "Elusive Butterfly of Love," I decided to give song names to the other two as well.

"Bungle in the Jungle"


"Elusive Butterfly"   

Last year's theme was "Turn the Tide on Breast Cancer," so the squares were ocean-themed. 
These were my contributions: 

And these are the squares I bought last year:

When I learned of this project in 2013, it was too late to contribute, but I was able to buy these two squares in the auction. The theme was "Stitching to Find a Bloomin' Cure."
Not only is this a fun and worthwhile project to participate in, but it also provides me with a heart-warming physical connection to women living half-way across the world, whom I only know online.
I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with this year, and bidding on the squares when the auction occurs.

January 9, 2015

Happy Healthy New Year!

I volunteered to bring a veggie platter to a New Year's Eve party, so there would be something I could eat. Well, you know how I am…. I may have gotten a little carried away. 

To understand the photos, you have to know that this is a really BIG platter… probably about 15" wide.  

But what I found interesting is how much response I got to this picture on Facebook. The comments and shares just keep coming!  I guess all that real food strikes a deep chord in my fellow human beings. 
One other thing… I didn't plan to have 12 selections on the platter, it just turned out that way. Very symbolic for the new year!

Happy Healthy New Year to everyone!!