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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why we're the Ultimate Funjetters!

I am hoping we'll be chosen as the Ultimate Funjetters, so I'm posting 4 photos that I hope will prove that we'll give them the best bang for their buck! :-) They asked for four photos- and I was hard-pressed, because we're a couple of old adrenaline junkies, and I have LOTS of photos of us doing all sorts of cool things, from flying the Wright B flyer in Ohio, to floating on the Dead Sea and riding camels in the Negev desert, to horseback riding in Belize & Jamaica, to bathing in the volcano mud in Cartagena, Columbia and dressing up as a Maiko & a Samurai in Kyoto! Basically, we're game for anything! There are SO many things we've yet do to, and so many things we'd LOVE to do... We love snorkeling and fishing and para-sailing & horseback riding... We love to dance... and we're "foodies" who would love to explore the cultures of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Hawaii- and having a blast in Vegas has been on our bucket list for a decade! Winning this amazing prize- 40 nights in 10 trips at 7 amazing places- would be THE best- an extraordinary chance to have The most romantic adventure trip of our lives! Dan is a workaholic, "can-do" US Army Retired guy, and I (Elisse) am an illustrator and an Official Artist for the US Coast Guard with 35 live-action illustrations in the USCG art collection. (And yes, I'd bring my pens and watercolors on our trip!) We met as FEMA disaster response workers during the 9/11 disaster response operation in NYC, and together we are partners in the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre, the historic inn we created from the flood-damaged building we bought after the floods of 2002! :-)

Zip-lining in West Virginia...

King of the world! We climbed to the top of pyramids in Mexico!

Dan & I para-sailing off the Mexico coast!

Dan & I Jet-Ski fishing!

Our "kids": beaded pet pins by The Lone Beader!

I have been following The Lone Beader (Diana L. Grygo) for a Long time.... and I have Badly wanted to own (and be able to wear) at least one piece of her work!
The Lone Beader's art is really incredible- her pet pins are truly miniature and wearable works of art:  fun, and sweet, and both incredibly clever and perfectly designed, and her beaded paintings are truly magnificent. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that she's "self-taught"- and I don't say that lightly, as I am a watercolor illustrator by profession, and I truly know what it takes to reach that level of skill, not to mention creativity.
My mother sent me a Hanukkah gift check this past December, and I quickly decided- backed by my hubby- that before it wound up going to pay for bills or some such necessity, I should "play it forward", as it were, and finally commission The Lone Beader to do pins of our "kids": Bear the kissy-needy pit bull, Lady-the-Almost-Lab, and the two Psycho Kitties, Caramel and Butterscotch! Back In The Day I had a contemporary art gallery in Germany and NYC, and I represented 26 artists. My original concept when I opened the gallery was to buy a piece from each artist to enable them to make a living at their art and not have to wait tables, and to build a collection at the same time. And I did it- until I literally ran out of money and lost my shirt in the gallery business thanks to a robbery that essentially finished me off. I had to reinvent myself professionally... which I did: as a FEMA Disaster Response Specialist. After I met my husband during the 9/11 Disaster Response Operation in NYC, I went to WV to be with him when he was deployed to West Virginia following the floods of 2002, and became not only his wife, but his partner in the restoration and owning of of the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre:!  And in the process of reinvention and working to make a living all these years, I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be able to commission an artist whose work you love, and let them do what they do best! I sent The Lone Beader photos of our four critters, and she started with Bear. It was So much fun to watch her work through the photos she sent us! And here they are, both completed, and as "Works-In-Progress",  from her sketches to the final pin/necklaces! We were going to frame them, on velvet in a shadow box, but I'm in the process of making myself a necklace on a silver wire with spacer beads, so I can wear them all at once!

The Lone Beader's pins: Caramel, Lady, Butterscotch, & Bear!

The Lone Beader's pins/necklaces, & the lovely boxes they came in!
PLEASE check out her etsy shop and get yourself a pin!:

Tuxedo Cat

Here are the photos of her work on our pets in progress:  

The Lone Beader's Sketch for Lady
Bear in progress!

Bear- as a work-in-progress! 
The Lone Beader's Sketch for Butterscotch
- aka "Li'l Psychopath"

Lady- as she started out!

Lady and Bear!
All the critters!