Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Huichol jewelry at Epcot

I found these gorgeous pieces of jewelry at Epcot Center Flower and Garden show and fell in love with them. I purchased a bracelet and earrings and photographed the rest of the jewelry.





Aren't they incredible?

Disney's Epcot Center Flower and Garden Show

As residents of Central Florida, we have annual passes to the Disney Theme Parks. So we visit a lot, especially for the special yearly events. This year's Flower and Garden Show at Epcot Center, in my opinion, is really special.

On our second visit to this show, I was actually motivated to shlep my camera, something I have not done in many years, to capture some of the highlights of the Show. The entry topiary garden had the theme Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia.
I love the dancing Hippos and Elephants.
My absolute favorite from this scene were the Ostrich.
And a closer look:
Further in to the park was this amazing Peacock. The photos do not do it justice. Look at the close-up of the head, with branches for the Peacock's crown.

Another area, surrounding the lagoon, you cannot tell from my photo but some of the flower beds were shaped like butterflies.
And then there were some of the usual suspects, more topiary:

Of course, being a lover of Ducks, I couldn't resist this last photo. Hope you enjoyed this small visit.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Follow up to Epcot Huichol Mexican Necklace

In my March 27th post, Huichol Beaded Necklaces - Variations on Epcot Necklace, I posted a photo of a gorgeous necklace that we saw recently at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. Here is that necklace.
I really wanted to use this design to inspire myself to both learn a new technique (seed bead netting) and to honor this design without copying it. So here is my response to this beautiful necklace....

I am happy with the color scheme and the overall design of this cuff. I need a lot more practice on bead netting though.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Crisis of Confidence - Personal vs. Commercial

I have spent the whole week soul searching. After selling my first item on Etsy (the Monarch brooch below), I have been brain-storming how to get more sales.
The necklaces I design are much more intricate and pricey than my bracelets and other jewelry, and I have noticed that bead designers who sell smaller, less expensive pieces sell more of them.

So what to do? Do I start designing hair ornaments, rings, brooches? In other words items that are made more quickly (and can also be beautiful), or do I stay with my love of intricate, original and dimensional design with a resulting slow turn around of product?

I spent a good part of the day today at a huge craft fair here in The Villages. It was so large that it took 3 hours to see every booth. And I found my answer.

The booths that drew my attention and where I lingered were those where the product took immense skill to do and were also well designed. There is something soul satisfying in looking at great art and great craft, in admiring something that is totally original and breathtakingly beautiful. This is not to say that my craft has gotten there yet, but I think if I am lucky and keep at it, maybe I can aspire to it. And after all, being retired, I have a lot of time to work at it.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Disney's White Rabbit Wonderland Cuff Bracelet

This is my latest bracelet and I love it. It is centered around a cute bunny drawing by NanachooART on Etsy.

One side has the watch that Mr. Rabbit consults to see "It's Late" and the other side has a heart from The Queen of Hearts.
This one was so much fun to make. I used black and red seed beads all around the outside. It is for sale on Etsy, at www.etsy.com/shop/tropicalkaren.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bubba the Problem Child Cat

We have a Siberian cat. The reason we have a Siberian cat is that my husband is allergic to cats and Siberians don't produce as much of the allergen in their saliva that other breeds do and so we are able to have him here without any allergy symptoms.

We have always had Burmese cats. When our daughter was little we would show our cats as a family hobby. So we know Burmese cats very well. Burmese cats, in my opinion, are the dogs of the cat world. They are friendly, calm and sociable. Our Burmese were very smart. One could open our bedroom door by jumping up on the door knob and turning it. The three Burmese were smart enough to unroll the toilet paper as an admonishment when we would leave them for a week's vacation. (We did have people come in to feed and play with them during that week).

Anyway, when our beloved 8 lb. Mickey died at age 18, I thought we couldn't get another cat because of my husband's allergy issues. Then I researched it and found the Siberian.

This is Bubba at 14 weeks, two weeks after we adopted him. This is still his favorite position. You can see that he has a "I am the boss of you" expression even at this young age.

My husband named him Bubba because we now live in the South (Florida) and because we knew that he would grow to between 16 and 20 pounds. And he is now 12 lbs at one year of age and still growing.

I have never really had a cat before, as I have previously explained. Whenever I read what cats are like I would proudly think, "not our cats".

Payback is a bitch as they say. Bubba is a CAT, all capital letters. I tried to clicker train him by giving him a treat if he came when I clicked. He saw the treat, turned up his nose, and ignored me.
Finicky eater- check. There really isn't anything other than tuna that he really likes and even that doesn't motivate his behavior.

He does greet visitors at the door and rubs against their legs, but only when he feels like it.
The worst problem we have is that he nips, both when he plays with us and also when he doesn't like what we are doing (like brushing him). He never breaks the skin when he nips but we really want to extinguish that behavior early on. I emailed the breeder in Georgia and asked what to do about the nipping. She said he would grow out of it and that we should tap him on the nose when he does it.
So I have been tapping him on the nose and saying "no biting" for months now and it hasn't made a bit of difference.


At my wits end, I emailed the breeder again about the nipping. No help there. I sure wish Bubba would finish training us soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Huichol Beaded Necklaces - Variations on Epcot Necklace

Salla commented on my post: Disney's Epcot Center Bead Art and suggested that the necklace featured beading which might be Huichol Mexican art. So I decided to do some research to find the answer.

From Wikipedia:
"Huichol art broadly groups the most traditional and most recent innovations in the folk art and handcrafts produced by the Huichol people, who live in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit in Mexico. The unifying factor of the work is the colorful decoration using symbols and designs which date back centuries. The most common and commercial successful products are “yarn paintings” and objects decorated with small commercially produced beads. Yarn paintings consist of commercial yarn pressed into boards coated with wax and resin and are derived from a ceremonial tablet called a nearika. The Huichol have a long history of beading, making the beads from clay, shells, corals, seeds and more and using them to make jewelry and to decorate bowls and other items. The “modern” beadwork usually consists of masks and wood sculptures covered in small, brightly colored commercial beads fastened with wax and resin.

While the materials have changed and the purpose of many of the items have changed from religious to commercial purposes, the designs have changed little and many retain their religious and symbolic significance. Most outsiders experience with Huichol art is as tourists in areas such as Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta without knowing anything about who makes the items and the meanings of the designs. There are some notable Huichol artists in the yarn painting and beadwork fields and both types of work have been commissioned for public display."

Just for reference, this is the necklace I saw at Epcot:

And the following are some of the Huichol necklaces I found online:


Way to go Salla!! I wanted to make my own variation of the Epcot necklace but didn't want to "copy" someone's design. Now I won't be afraid to try my own variation on the theme.