Sunday, February 26, 2012


 Heather, the West Highland Terrier that runs our household, loves cream.

Ice cream, whipped cream, creamed cheese. 


She'll go to the ends of the earth for cream.
And the bottom of the cup.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Wild Things

J and I have been feeding a homeless cat throughout the past five years.  "Baby" shows up every morning, looking for her wet food and crunchies.  Most mornings, Baby is waiting.  She'll  tuck behind the pine tree or under the picnic table.  Once in awhile, we can get a Meow out of her.  Begrudgingly, as really, she's just there for the free food.

Baby hasn't been around in four days...

We hoped that maybe she got caught in someone's garage over the weekend, and would show up today, hungry but okay.  Sadly, no.

The other homeless cat, Beauty (aka Skrawny, since she was so emaciated when her former owners abandoned her) did show up for food.  But no Baby.

Mornings don't seem quite so bright right now.  A dear friend is gone.  Yes, I'm sure she went on to a better place, wherever that may be.  But I miss my spunky black fluffy morning buddy.  The backyard feels empty and so does my heart.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I have been absolutely stumped re: what to do with my Bead Soup ingredients.  (Here's a reminder of the beautiful goodies sent by my partner, Theresa.)

I did get a basic pattern down, but then... nothing.  The piece just wasn't making my heart sing.  For 10 days, I was just blocked.  Didn't do any beading, just moved things around on my bead table.

Yesterday, I put some supplied away and there it was - the component I needed to pull everything together!  Now,  I love the design.  And I think it will be a perfect 75th birthday present for the Mama.

I'll finish it up  today.  After, of course, I lesson plan for the week and grade papers.  (Bleh.)  Can't wait to show you!

The big Bead Shop blog reveal is on March 5th!  Be sure to check back then.  I'll also have a link to everyone else's creations!

Monday, February 13, 2012

From Bead Soup to Bead Stew

Like beads?  Copper Diem ( is giving away THREE POUNDS, yep - three pounds - of beads.  Details can be found on her blog.  Here's a taste of her stew:

Picture: Copper Diem
I know I'm going to enter the contest.  Come.  Be my competition.  After all, the pursuit of beads is an honorable pursuit, right?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Studio Space

Most people have living  rooms.  I have a studio. 

 There's lots of great artwork on the walls.  And bright green paint.  And antiques.  But mostly, beads.  Lots of beads.
 There's a little bit of variety - some paint, lots of dust.
 And a blanket for the dog to lay on, since we got rid of the couch and she no longer has a place to snuggle when friends come over to bead or visit.
This is J's collection.  Note: much more organized and neat and dusted.  Of course, the picture was taken right after we put up the shelf.  (Who am I kidding?  This shelf will always look like this...sigh.)  J has her picture of the gorgeous Alex O'Loughlin to watch over her beads, pensively waiting for her to return to her chair. 

Someday, I'll have a room I can devote to beads.  Actually, I guess I already do.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Garden of (Swarvorski) Delight

Sometimes, I just have a vague idea for a piece of beadwork.
With this piece, I just had a basic layout - wavy edges, several cabs and the gorgeous dragonfly stamping. 

I was stumped on what to do until I remembered my new collection of swarvorksi crystals.  I'd resisted these crystals for many years - too expensive.  Now, I'm hooked!  They added just what this necklace needed.  A little bit of color and some sparkle. 

Then, I found a yellow lampwork bell flower in my stash (from HannahRachel) and received some lampwork lentils from PearlyK in the mail.  Now, the necklace had a life of its own.  And I longed to get outside and dig in my garden.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Planned Parenthood

"No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."  Margaret Sanger, mother of Planned Parenthood.

I admit, I've never been a fan of the Pink (Komen) Foundation.  When many of their chief sponsors - Coke, 3M, Revlon - refuse to address the usage of BPA (carcinogenic chemicals) in their products, I find it hard to trust the message that the Pink campaign's intent is to save lives.  In addition, the Komen website does not detail how their funds are spent - how much on research, what kinds of research, etc.  Have they built awareness of breast cancer?  You bet.  Have they worked arduously towards a cure?  Not so much.  (Check out this essay:

Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, as a federally funded organization, is required to be transparent in its policies and in its finances.  Planned Parenthood fills in the gap of medical access for many women without insurance, with little access to medical care, and contrary to the assertions of a Congressman (John Kyl - Arizona) "who did not intend for his claims to be factual" -  only 3% of PP funding goes towards abortions.  (For more details on this, please reference this excellent historical essay -  The Politics of PP:

Maybe I'm biased.  When I was in my early 20s and living in Florida, I had cervical cancer.  When my regular gyn messed up several tests during the confirmation process (painful and expensive and just plain wrong - one test said I was pregnant!) I went to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sarasota for help.  The women there were unbelievably kind, from the receptionist at the door to the technicians to the nurse that performed the procedure to remove the cancerous cells.  As I cried throughout the process, the PA held my hand and explained what was happening. A scary experience became much more tolerable through the kindness of Planned Parenthood.

Looking back now, I think this was probably my first experience with a women-centered space.  Where my concerns about my health were validated, not dismissed.  Where I felt safe enough to cry amongst strangers because they weren't strangers, they were women like me.  Where being a woman was respected and honored, not a cause for dismissal.  Or disapproval.  Or fear.  Or minimization.  The staff at Planned Parenthood discussed my options for treatment with me from the position of a health provider, not from the position of a health decider.  I had the freedom to make any decision that worked for me, that was in my best interest.

For me, the attacks on Planned Parenthood are personal because they affect my ability, as a woman, to make choices about my body.  My body.  My body that has always been more than the host for carrying a child.  I'm so much more than my womb.  All women are worth more than their ability or willingness to reproduce.  I reject being diminished in that way. To use abortion as a means of taking away the inherent right I have to decide what to do with my body is inexcusable.  No man would ever be asked to make that choice.  No man would ever have his rights confused with those of an embryo, one that cannot exist without the woman's body.  

My body is not up for debate. 

If we're going to debate women's autonomy in regards to their bodies, let's also debate men's.  I am willing to bet our conversations will change.  It's time to stop hiding behind the smokescreen of abortion and have a real conversation about who is entitled to rights.
Here's the heart of the argument: "This debate, which rages at a time when there is no consensus about what makes a person a person, began before an American electorate of white men was able to agree that a woman’s status as a citizen is any different from that of a child." (New Yorker article, linked above.)

Historically, women are left out of constitutional rights until the 19th amendment, which gives women the right to vote.  I'm voting for women's reproductive rights with my money and with my words, by supporting Planned Parenthood. 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bead Soup!

I got goodies in the mail today from my Bead Soup partner, Theresa Buchle.  Lovely shades of pink seed beads, some sparkly bronze seed beads and gorgeous mattes (my favorites!) size 8s.  The clasp is just stunning - a filigree in copper.  Best of all, the rhodonite flower focal!  Oh, my!
  Love this!

I'm going to have so much fun... thinking I might add some pearls.  One thing I know for sure - I'm keeping whatever I make! 

Take a look at Theresa's Etsy shop and blog, because her work is fabulous and also to see what she received from me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Morning Poem

February 2nd holds a very special place in my heart.  Many, many years ago I made a  commitment that shaped and defined my life.  It was a transformative day... shifting my life from a really dark period into light.

In honor of that, I share with you Mary Oliver's "Morning Poem," a favorite.

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver