Saturday, March 31, 2012

Interested in Blogging?

Here's some great tips, from Sarah of Saturday Sequins.

Sarah gives 10 tips to creating a successful blog that are insightful and easy to put into play.  Blogging offers the opportunity for creative expression.  And, as a marketing tool, to help build a wider reputation as an artist, it's an effective means of communication.

In the few months that I've been blogging, I've come to enjoy the process more and more.  It's fun to have a place to connect my jewelry with the wider world.  I'm looking for more ways to be creative.  I know I'll be using some of Sarah's tips!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Have you purchased your lottery ticket yet? 

If I won, the first thing I would do is pay off my student loans.  J's student loans.  I'd set up an endowment for GWS, so that budget issues could never affect the health and well-being of the program.  I'm sure we would get a bigger house, since 800 square feet, well... it's pretty small for all the life we put into the space.  Mama would get a new car.  Family members and loved ones would benefit and kids would have college funds set up.

I'm sure I would have a ton (or two!) more beads.  A wall o'beads.  Sigh.  

You know, all of the practical stuff would be taken care of, and then, I'd pursue some bigger dreams - travel, a holistic center, art classes, sources to empower women, to teach women's studies to a wider audience.

Which makes me think... why am I waiting for an unlikely lottery winning to begin to pursue more of these dreams?  Yes, right now, at this moment, my finances are limited.  But my resources aren't.  I know that the universe/Goddess/God/Higher Power/whatever you want to call it has a much greater understanding than I do of what is possible for me.  I mean really, I never NEVER expected to be starting a PhD program.  Never.  This is uncharted territory for me and I admit to being a bit freaked out.

Years ago, a friend told me to live like you have a million dollars in your pocket.  This allows you to take risks, pursue dreams, dream bigger dreams.  Wise words.  It's so easy to limit ourselves to what we think is possible.  When, really, there is so much more possible.

Time to live like I've won the lottery... because, in many ways, I have.

Although, it'd be really fun to...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bead Porn, Lampwork Edition

Oh, lampwork.  Sigh.  Honestly, I don't know how people manage to create such wonder with glass rods and fire.  I am continually amazed at the beauty.

Here's some of my favorite lampwork artists:
I won an Ebay auction of Pearly's beads about 4 years ago.  A bunch of "seconds' that are so gorgeous I have to bribe myself to use them.  I want them ALL!
I have several of these squiggley sets.  So much fun!
I haven't been in a position to purchase these... yet.
But, a woman can dream...
Love these flowers.  The detail is amazing, as is the artist.
Great colors in small sets.  Excellent for spacers.
Frequently runs nice sales.
I want to live in a world that feels as much fun as this!
Oh. My. Goodness!
This list could never be complete with out the work of Juli Cannon!
Gorgeous beads are almost as wonderful as the artist.
You'll also enjoy her blog.

If there's an artist out there that I need to experience, please send me the link!

(All of these pictures come from the artists' website and/or shops.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

This is Love

If you ever need to hear a voice in the middle of the night
When it seems so black outside that you can't remember
Light ever shone on you or the ones you love in this or another lifetime

And the voice you need to hear is the true and the trusted kind, with a soft
Familiar rhythm in these swirling, unsure times, when the waves are lapping in
And you're not sure you can swim, well here's the lifeline

If you ever need to feel a hand take up your own
When you least expect but want it more than you've ever known
Baby, here's that hand, and baby's here's my voice that's calling

This is love, all that ever was and will be
This is love

If you ever need some proof that time can heal your wounds, just step
Inside my heart and walk around these rooms; where the shadows used to be,
You can feel as well as see how peace can hover

Time's been here to fix what's broken with its power and the love that
Smashed us both to bits spent its last few hours calling out your name,
And I thought, this is the kind of pain from which we don't recover

But I'm standing here now with my heart held out to you
You would have thought a miracle was all that got us through
Well baby, all I know, all I know is I'm still standing

And this is love, all that ever was and will be
This is love, standing up for you baby, standing up for me
And I see you still and there's this catch in my throat;
And I just swallow hard till it leaves me
There's nothing in this world that can change what we know
Still I know I am here if you ever need me

And this is love
If you ever think of me, let it be around twilight, when the world has
Settled down, and the last round of sunlight is waning in the sky as you
Sit and watch the night descending

A car will pass out front with lovers at the wheel, a dog will bark out
Back, and children's voices peal over and under the air, you've been there,
Lost in the remembering

If you ever wish for things that are only in the past
Just remember that the wrong things aren't supposed to last
Baby, it's over and done, the rest is gonna come when you let it

And this is love, all that ever was and will be
This is love, when you let it baby, if you let it now
This is love, all that ever was and can be
This is love.

Lyrics by Mary Chapin Carpenter, "This is Love."
Kitty Love by Ricky and Rhea.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Balance

Happy Spring Equinox!  Today, the world experiences a certain sense of balance between light and dark.  While this happens in September, too, it seems I'm always in much more need of balance in the spring.

Maybe it's because of the winter days and being closed up in the house.  Maybe it's because my birthday is in late spring, so I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish in the next year and so looking for how to balance everything to get the most out of the next year.

My challenge lately has been to let loose of my need to control.  Ugh.  Everything I do is so detailed oriented, which necessitates control.  But when I've done everything I can do, I need to be able to let go.  So the universe can work on the bigger details, on how it's accepted or processed.  So that the results can come to me.

The word of the season, for me = balance.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Springing Into Wings

I haven't sold jewelry at a art/craft show in several years.  Ever since I had three disastrous shows in a row.  One in which snobby Chicago socialites just didn't get my funky art and booth, so they stood outside and made fun.  If I'd had a squirt gun, I'd have made sure the seat of their pants were wet, so people could point and stare at them. 

The next weekend, I was at a fun show but it poured.  I mean POURED!  My booth was at the end of a driveway on the main road.  Seemed like all of the water came down through that driveway.  My booth flooded.  My backstock bins started flowing away.  My niece was with me that day.  Bless her sense of fun, she saved my sanity.  As we're packing (throwing) everything into the van, she started throwing water at me.  At first, I was annoyed but then realized, wait.  She's right.  This is supposed to be fun.  And since everything is ruined anyway, let's make the best of it.  So we had a water fight, in the middle of the ruin.  People passing by must have thought we were nuts!  But it was fun.  Finally, I was doing a show that was FUN!  Even now, 10 years later, it's a nice memory for me.  And a good lesson.

The last show of that season, it was 90 degrees, high humidity and the show was set up in a field of mosquitoes.  There were maybe 12 customers.  It was miserable.  And I was out of money.  Three bad shows in a row = economic ruin. I quit the show circuit and went to work in a bank.

Fast forward to now.  At the end of March, I'm doing the Spring Into Wings show in Kalamazoo.  With three friends.  So even if the show is show or challenging or whatever, it's guaranteed to be fun.  Cause we'll laugh.  And play.  Maybe not by throwing water at each other... but I'm sure we'll share some laughter.

Sunday, March 18, 2012



I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

But this one thought stands, never goes - if I might but be one of those born in the future; then, perhaps, to be born a woman will not be to be born branded - Olive Schreiner

With its socialist roots, International Women's Day has become an annual moment to reflect on the progress of women's rights.  Many women's groups use the day to draw attention to issues faced by women or to gather for celebrations/commemorations.  In some countries (Russia, Brazil, Poland for example), women are given flowers.  Kind of like a pseudo Mother's Day. 

As a scholar, I'm very interested in women's communities - how these become sources of empowerment and motivations for change.  When I begin my PhD studies next fall, International Women's Day will be the focus of my dissertation.  In my MA thesis, I'm researching Women's History Month.  I'm continually amazed at the impact that a small group of women (MA graduate students!) had on the lives of countless people!  I can only imagine how inspired I'll be at a global effort.

So today - celebrate women!  Our strength and courage and resilience and laughter and...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bead Soup Big Reveal!

This is what I started with, a generous Bead Soup from my partner, Theresa.
This is what I made with my soup!  
I'm so excited with how this turned out.  I added three gorgeous off-cut Mexican Crazy Lace Agate cabochons to some carnelian, goldstone, red jasper and cats eye cabochons to create the framework for the embroidery piece.  Bead embroidery isn't a stretch for me, but I really struggled with the symmetry here.  The necklace was okay, but not spectacular.  Definitely not worthy of Bead Soup!  I loved the mix of light pink seed beads with brown sparkly seed beads, but felt the piece needed something more.  Plus, I needed to step outside my box a bit.  The necklace sat on my bead table for over two weeks, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Then, while sorting through a bag of fabric, I found the three velvet flowers.  Viola!  These were the perfect compliment to the rhodonite flower focal.  Just perfect!  Now, the embroidery had some personality!  And I discovered a new love for velvet flowers.  :)  
I finished the necklace with rhodonite 8mm beads and 6mm bronze czech rounds, adding the perfect clasp that came with my soup.
I love this piece!  It will be perfect for the Mama's 75th birthday later this month.  I'll be sure to post a picture of her wearing it.
I'm so excited to see what everyone else has made with their Bead Soup!  To view all the other Bead Soup beauties, check out the links below! 

Hostess, Lori Anderson

Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer
1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)

21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs

32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)

41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)

76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Color Junkie

Okay, I admit it.  I am a color junkie.  Can't pick a favorite and one is never enough.

Obviously.  Here's some photos from yesterday's fabric and ribbon purchase.

Apparently, I'm a pattern junkie, too.  I knew that paisley was a weakness.  I mean, really.  Who can resist paisley?

Or ribbon!  Especially when it's 50% off.

And the store has 3 rows of it!

And bags of scraps for $1.99.

Look at all the pretty colors...

My goal with all this color is to play with bead embroidery in some new ways.  After 20 years of necklaces, I'm itching to explore on a bigger scale. 

Quilting.  Mirrors.  Dolls.  Mixed media art pieces where I blend beads with fabric and ribbon and paint and oh my!  The endless possibilities.

I also have some wonderful garden photos that J has taken.
Hence the photo paper. 
Since I have the next week off for break, hopefully I'll have something to share with you soon!