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 :-)

I am catching up this evening.  First a favorite family photo.  If you went though the zillions of photos on our phones and computers, about 10% of them are of this scene.  Layla is a champion napper, and she loves nothing better than making herself comfortable on our bed.  As Greg said recently, if she had thumbs, she would have the covers tucked around her.

Now for a studio update.  I have an idea to jazz up my display.  Here is another before picture, without table cover:

And here are the evil door scratching, non-removable, and not very level brackets that hold the doors up:

And here is the work in progress:

I have some issue to work out with the hardware I am using (I can't get the brackets on the bottom tight enough to hold everything up) and I need to decide if I will cut down the pole across the top.  Once I fix my hardware issues, I plan to hang frames to display my jewelry from the pole.  I would love to get far enough along that I can sew the fabric I use to cover the table into a fitted table cloth.  We'll see :-)

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