Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Beach Bonfire...

When I was younger, somewhere between high school and college, I was invited to a party on a "black" beach.  We were in Florida and I had never heard of a black beach there before, so I was curious to see it for myself.  When we got there, I couldn't help but think how the sand looked less like "The Dunes of Midnight Obsidian" in my imagination and more like the "salt and pepper" of reality.   It was a fun time though and there was a bonfire.  I remember gazing at the red-gold embers swirling in the air and drifting into dark of the crashing ocean.  The sky above the water was speckled with stars and it looked as though the embers had some how magically traveled billions of light-years and transformed themselves into these pinpricks of light.  At that moment, it seemed like it was the beginning of the universe... and in someways, it was.  It was the beginning of the journey into adulthood.

I wanted to capture that feeling and energy.  So I put together a blend of blacks (both shiny and matte), pearlescent whites, golds, reds, and coppers.  This is the first time that I've put together a Premium Mix that was based solely on color and not on a blending of shapes and textures; the mix is composed of size 8 Japanese Miyuki seed beads and is sold by 10 gram tube.

I so rarely have time to make anything finished these days.  I wanted to do something with this mix though.  It's not anything fancy, just the seed beads strung up on Memory Wire with Swarovski crystal dangles, but it was fun and quick and I was glad that I could do something with this mix.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Black Beach Bonfire Premium Mix.

New Premium Czech Glass...

I just added some new selections to the Premium Czech Glass category in the Allegory Gallery online store.  We have quite a bit of it in the physical location and I wanted to start offering more of my favorites online.  CLICK HERE to see the new additions.

Pink Lemonade...

When the weather gets chilly and overcast, it's hard not to imagine sunnier skies and a warmer season.  A 30 degree average temperature with skies the color of overcooked ground beef will do that to you.  And when I do think of those hotter days, I also think of that pitcher on the table that is almost always full of a cool refreshment... pink lemonade.

I can't remember where exactly I got the recipe – maybe Martha Stewart or the Food Network – but it never disappoints and is quickly building strong associations with carefree leisure time in the sun.

The "recipe" isn't so much a "real recipe", as it is handy additions to jazz up regular lemonade.  I try to use Meyer lemons if I can find them.  They have a sweeter flavor that's less acidic.  I toss in a cup or two of crushed seasonal berries, like raspberries or strawberries.  The berries give the lemonade the distinctive "pink" look.  I also toss in a couple of wedges of lime to add a floral note.  But the secret to make this a really refreshing beverage is the mint.  As mean as it sounds, I bruise the leaves to heighten the flavor and really make them aromatic.  The mint leaves have a cooling effect.  Hot mint tea, surprisingly, is often drunk in the scorching desert because of this.  Other additions, like lemon soda or club soda can be added for sparkling effervescence.  (Alcohol, like vodka, can be added for a different kind of effervescence.)  But the latter suggestions of making the pink lemonade fizzy or tipsy-inducing are completely unnecessary.

To commemorate this lovely beverage that conjures images of weather not requiring three layers (or more), I created a Premium Mix.  I couldn't help it.  I was at the store and looking out the window and saw an homage to gray on gray.  I just needed something that was bright and refreshing.  The Pink Lemonade Mix was just what I needed... short of a glass of this sweet nectar.

CLICK HERE to check out the Pink Lemonade Mix.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Time is the rarest of birds... at least for me it is.  Some people seem to have a menagerie of gilded cages, stocked plentifully with this exotic creature.  For me, I play the role of the White Rabbit more often than not.  I'm constantly running around behind schedule or trying to meet a deadline.  That rare bird alights for a moment and then is off again, me chasing after it.

The days now seem like a Gerhard Richter painting... less like the photorealistic ones and more like the abstract smears and blurs.

But... even though... there is a whirlwind around me, there is also a sense of peace.  The peace doesn't come from a place of calm or a perception of static serenity, it comes from an in-the-gut feeling of right.    It's kind of like asking the Universe for a sign of confirmation and then seeing the most dazzling sunset or thinking of a good friend you haven't heard from in awhile and getting a surprise phone call at that exact moment from them.  The only difference is that this feeling of right is less cinematic and more subtle.  It feels like a seed inside, growing and developing, slowly setting down taproots and connecting.  There's a lot of hard ground to break, but the little tendrils covered in tiny white hairs keep digging, keep persisting.

And then you realize that it feels right, not because you're any closer to capturing that elusive bird, but because it dawns on you, that you have changed and continue to change... your life is transforming into a place that bird can call home.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Allegory Gallery Facebook Giveaway...

Earlier in the week, Allegory Gallery's Facebook page celebrated 700 likes!  What an amazing thing!  We appreciate all the wonderful support!  Wow!

As a way to say THANK YOU for all the awesome likes on Facebook, we decided to host a little giveaway.  It took me awhile to find just the right prizes, but I think I found some really cool ones!

So, here's what you can win:

1 bar of Possum Hollow Farm Soap courtesy of Song of Sixpence
1 signed copy of "Use All the Crayons!" by Chris Rodell
1 bag of (your choice) of toffee from Naughty Toffee
1 bag of the "Enchanted Glade" Premium Mix

To enter to win this giveaway, all you have to do is actively like the Allegory Gallery Facebook page and comment on the giveaway post.  A winner will be randomly selected next Saturday during the Small Business Saturday festivities.

CLICK HERE to visit the Allegory Gallery Facebook Page.

OH!  And spread the word!  The more likes we get, the more giveaways we'll have.  For every 100 likes, we'll have a new giveaway!  And the more likes we get, the bigger the prizes will get!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Gift Exchange Participant List...

The randomly selected participants for this year's Holiday Gift Exchange are:

Ellen Lyn
diane hawkey
Amber Dawn Inventive Soul
Boot ~ C
Christy Porter

Thanks everyone for commenting and throwing your hats in the ring!  I'll be sending you each an email, please make sure to respond back with your contact information!  I've already started working on the gifts and I think they're pretty cool!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Have you ever put something away for safe keeping... only to get swept up in the everyday demands, causing you to forget where that safe place might be?  I got this amazing bronze octopus bead by Anne Choi after Bead & Button.  It came to the store, so I tucked it away in a pocket in my camera bag.  I carry my camera almost everywhere!  So I thought it'd be a good place to keep it until I brought it home to join my collection.

The day was rough.

And when I got home, I remembered that there was something that I had to do, but I couldn't remember what it was.  Every time I took out my collection, a little voice in the back of my head said, "Hey!  Something's missing!"  And I'd think about it and think about it, but couldn't quite place my finger on it.

That is until my camera battery ran dry.  I meant to charge it the night before.  I even placed the battery in the charger.  The only problem is that I plugged the wrong plug in.  So when I went to take a picture today, I needed the back-up battery and dipped into my camera bag.  That's when I found this prized beauty!

I'm not forgetful.  I tell myself that this little octopus was just in character and was hiding, as the creature it was patterned after is wont to do.

Beaded Links...

Do you ever challenge yourself to see a pendant as a bracelet? Lisa shares her latest project using a large metal pendant as a bracelet focal.  
Tammy interviews luxury jewelry designer Rebekah Lea.  

Erin Siegel takes us on a blog hop full of creative and gorgeous earring designs 
Cyndi is soooo excited to let you know that Chapter three of her new book is completed and ready for download. The name? "Bridging the Gap." Are you curious...?  

Carmi continues to explored the endless ways to incorporate t-shirt yarn into her projects! 
An unusual copper bezel is the inspiration for this "Coronation" themed resin beauty.  

Andrew has been hard at work creating four new Premium Mixes!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Artsy Things...

It's been a busy week for artsy things in the area.  The first event that I attended was a program at Artworks in Johnstown about how to increase visibility for one's art organization.  The presentation was put on by Ed Huttenhower of the Small Business Development Center at St. Francis University.  I felt it had some really helpful tips for establishing a small business and was a great opportunity to meet other individuals interested in promoting their groups.  It was a nice chance to check out the facility and it was particularly nice to see some friends and customers of Allegory Gallery there.

The second event this week was held at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.  They have a monthly event called, "Art On Tap".  It was a really fun event with live music and was a great way to meet people interested in art.  It reminded me a little of being back in New York with all the art openings and cultural events.  I met a particularly charming woman named Barbara Ferrier, who was instrumental in bringing the ballet to the area.  This ties in nicely with our next exhibition at Allegory Gallery, where we'll be showing ballet-themed photographs taken by Shirleah Kelly.

Another nice thing about the Art On Tap event was that I saw several familiar faces from the Botanical Society of Westmoreland County.  Earlier in the week, I attended a meeting on rain gardens.  That presentation was put on by Kathy Hamilton of the Westmoreland Conservation District.  It was really interesting and there are a couple of places on the property that might do well with this addition.

I feel really lucky to be a member of such a rich and exciting area.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Handmade Gift Swap...

Lorelei's Blog
I was selected to be a participant in Lorelei Euto's 12 Days of Christmas Handmade Gift Swap!  Hurray!  I'm really looking forward to this.  I think it'll be a lot of fun and I've got an idea of what I'm going to make for everyone.  (I would tell... but I don't want to ruin the surprise!)

Holiday Gift Exchange...

I thought it might be a little fun to have a Holiday Gift Exchange.  I haven't done one of these swaps for awhile, so I thought that I'd bring back the tradition this year.

So... here are the details:

*  I wish that I could do a gift exchange with everyone out in the blogosphere, but I'm pressed for time this year and will have to limit it to nine (9) participants.

*  While I love sending and getting things from all over the world, I'm going to limit it to US participants.  This is so that I have ample time to send everything out without worrying about postal delays.  Not only that, but it can add up and get quite expensive.

*  To participate, leave a comment on this post with your email address.  I'll randomly select the nine (9) participants at the beginning of next week (Monday, November 12th at 12:00 Noon EST) and post them here.  I will then email the winners of the selection with my contact information.  Once you've received my email, write back with your own.

*  Once we've successfully transferred contact information, then the fun begins!  We exchange gifts!  Make sure that your gift arrives by December 20th, as the reveal will be posted here on the 21st with all nine gifts!  Don't worry about having to make or send off nine holiday gifts, you'll only be required to exchange gifts with just me.

*Gifts can be handmade or purchased.  The beauty of getting a gift is the surprise!  So there's no stipulations on what to send.  (Though I will say that you'll get something beady from me!)

Pretty simple!  I think it could be a lot of fun!  It's very festive and I like how I'll be able to exchange gifts with at least a few readers.  Thanks so much in advance!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Calendar Pre-Sale Continues...

Have you selected your 2013 calendar yet?  If not, think about showing your support for the arts by getting one by Sheila Thornton.  This portable calendar features the stunning plein air paintings showcased in her most recent solo show, "Sheila Thornton: Pennsylvania Landscapes".  Her work is simply magical.  They seem to glow from within, like little light-filled jewels.  The calendar will also include three never before seen paintings.

We're currently doing a pre-sale of them to help diffuse the printing costs.  For a limited time, we're offering them at a special promotional price ($2 cheaper) to say thank you for making this project a reality.

Whatever profits we make from the calendar will go directly into helping fund the "Spring Event".  This will be the biggest event we've done so far and it's not inexpensive to put on.  We'd like to keep the event as affordable as we can make it and allow as many people to go as possible.  So these efforts now will help keep the cost down later on.

Just think... for the price of two Starbucks coffees, you could be facilitating an amazing creative opportunity of a lifetime!  CLICK HERE to find out more about the calendars and to pre-order your's today!


 The latest exhibition at Allegory Gallery is "Transformations".  The work presented is by Maryland-based artist and jewelry-maker, Kelly Russell.  In her latest show, she delves into the mysteries of alchemical symbols.  Throughout her work there is but one constant.... a sense of change.  It appears in the graphic depicts of the symbols, but it also manifests itself in the shifting colors... moving from cool to warm.  Scattered throughout the work are also symbolic butterflies, totems for transformation.  Just by looking at her work and not knowing any personal details, it's easy to see that this artist is at a huge crossroads in her life and about to spread her wings.
The opening reception is tomorrow evening: Friday, November 2nd, from 5PM to 8PM.  Her work, both collage and jewelry, will be on view and available for purchase.  The work is simply breathtaking and makes you ever curious.  Please join us at Allegory Gallery and show your support for the arts in the region.