I was privileged to join this years 2014 Art Charm blog hop in support of Beads of Courage.  The theme this year was "soar" and Wow! Do these artists nail it!  Stunning color! The best part?  You can bid for one of these -- with all proceeds going to Beads of Courage -- by going HERE.

Left: Creative Designs by Cheri, Cheri Mitchell-Reed
Right: Fulgorine, Handmade by Cate van Alphen

Beautiful copper from...
Left: Artisticaos, Terri Del Signore
Center: Jami Shipp
Right: Culturezine

And an extra dose of color from...
Left: Firefly Design Studio, Michelle McCarthy
Center Left: Strega Jewellry
Center Right and Right: Toltec Jewels

And here is mine:

All the color and beautiful art needs to be worn, don't you think?  So I arranged them into this necklace.  My niece loves to play with my jewelry when we sit in church - I think she'll love this!

Be sure to check out all the participants here:
Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net

Like many crafty artistic types, I am ever hopeful that what I make will find an audience (other than those who are related to me :-)), so I am always tweaking my display.  I made a ton of small pendants with my own lamp work beads and other bits and pieces, and I wanted a better way to display them.  I blogged about where I was headed here, and below is the final result.

It's not 100% perfect (some clamps were required to keep it stable) but I like the result.  However this particular show, usually by far my most successful, was a total dud this year.  I didn't even crack triple digits.  Part of the problem was that I did no self promotion whatsoever, and part of it was that this year the crowds' average age was 70ish.  Not really the type to be into boho-ish art beads.  The competitive part of me wants this to be successful, but the realistic part of me knows that the most important thing - my family - takes priority over all else.  And I need to practice my craft more, and really, it needs to just be fun, not a job.  It's okay (I am telling myself) to take a break when I am not feeling it, and pour every extra minute into it when I am feeling it.  What does this have to do with being hope(ful) you are wondering?  Because my partner in crime lately at craft fairs is this guy:

He set up his rainbow loom next to my table and completely outsold me.  He will wave down even the oldest sweet grandmother and charm her into buying a charm or a bracelet for a grandchild.  He helped me set up and tear down, he scouted the other vendors, brought us lunch (this craft fair always has the best BBQ sandwiches - yum)  and did some Christmas shopping for his sister.  His boundless energy and enthusiasm and hope are a constant light in my life.  

See more hope here:

Whew - the last two weeks have blown past me. I was having one of those moments this weekend where I felt a tad overwhelmed and out of sorts.  So I made myself sit down and clean my desk, which usually leads to cleaning out my work bag and my wallet too.  In the picture you can see the very full trashcan :-).  So while it didn't shorten the list of blog posts I need to write, it does feel enormously better.

So let's get to the blog catch up.  For the first Focus on Life post of November, we got the fun prompt of posting something of the extraordinary every day.  I have two.  The first is a picture I took today of this pretty yellow tree around the corner from our house.  I love when the fallen leaves form a "shadow" under the tree.

This picture I took on Veteran's Day - my husband and I took a bike ride to Arlington Cemetery, then downtown, and then back across the 14th Street Bridge towards home.  The sun, fall leaves, and Washington Monument couldn't have been more nicely arranged for me.  I was lucky enough to look up at the right moment and screech to a halt to grab my camera!

Then last week Sally started using all "ful" words - the first being grateful. That's easy. I am grateful for these two.  When I'm not looking they appear to really like each other :-)

And this last weekend the word was faithful.  I know I've posted quite a bit about Emma's soccer team.  This group of girls has been together for a few years, and are committed to staying together even as they scatter to high school teams.  We've played some pretty cold games this fall, and they really pull together -- I love to see the faith they have in each other.

You can see other signs of faithfulness here:

Hello all - I came so close to finishing my October blog challenge, but things, good things, have gotten in the way.  This weekend we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Greg's parents.  Greg's aunt and uncle, and his brother's family, also joined us for a celebration weekend.

It was blustery Saturday, but we did a little sightseeing at the Washington Monument...

...and then ducked out of the wind and cold into the United States Botanic Garden (a favorite spot of mine).

Yesterday we drove out west to admire the turning leaves and spent some time in Harper's Ferry...

Then today I started a new job.  The best part?  This is the view from my office - Nationals Park.  Can't wait for the season opener next spring!

I'll get back into the groove soon :-)

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