Friday, August 30, 2013


I haven't been in love this way in over twenty years.  I want to spend every single second with my new love.  Every. Single. Second.  I am absolutely, completely, head-over-heels obsessed.

With felting.

Nuno felted scarf - Poppy
I mean, really.  Have you seen the wonder that is felting?  For prime examples, check out my Pinterest board with felting that I can only dream of doing!  And do dream of doing.

I intended to post a picture of my first project - a bead.  But Sparky, whose really a pirate in a cat's body, stole the bead off my bead table.  Brat.  Since he brought it back (eventually), I promised to stuff it full of catnip and turn it into a kitty toy.  A fitting first project, we all agreed.

 I want to do projects like this, only on a bigger scale than a pin.  Pin.
I'll be playing a lot with felt over the next few months.  I'm sketching projects and they're keeping me awake at night.  It just feels so wonderfully alive.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Inspiration: Lillies

The color!  The texture!  The smell!  Stunning.

We ordered three plants of these enormous Stargazer Lillies last fall, as part of a fundraiser for the Michigan Women's History Museum and Hall of Fame.  I expected them to be nice, but my goodness.  One plant had three blooms, another had four, and one had five HUGE blooms. 

Such a vibrant color.

And the tiger lillies aren't bad either.  We started a few years ago with one plant.  Now there are several in the Sun garden.

Some of these reach almost seven feet tall.

There might be some polka dot jewelry in my future...

Friday, August 23, 2013

The garden is too quiet.

The wrens have fledged.  And the garden is very very quiet.

If you have wrens, you know what I mean. 

For such a little bird, they sure do make their presence known.  Singing when they're happy, growling when they're not.

We had two clutches this year, in two different spots in the yard.  The early clutch, who hung out in the fairy garden, showed up early in May and sang their way through May, June and July.   The second clutch roosted in a nest under the pine tree, which is very close to the picnic table.  Mama bird growled every time we stepped out the back door.  Dad was more welcoming, singing from sunrise until sunset.

Until last week, when the babies (6 of them!) got ready to fledge.

On Sunday afternoon, it took the little ones about three hours to get up the courage to fly the coop.  Mama would sit nearby on a shepard's hook, calling to them.  She'd hold a bug in her mouth as a reward.

Once one of them left the nest, they all followed really quickly.

I'm so happy to have these pictures!  I just love these little birds.  They amaze me, at how they come back year after year, and live their lives with such determination.

So proud.

See you in the spring, little buddies!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Inspiration: Brisingamen

The Empress, from the Norse Tarot

Scandinavian myth tells the story of the Goddess Freya.  Her search for knowledge brought her to a secret cave, which was home to four dwarves.  These dwarves were master craftsmen, each keeper of the sacred mysteries associated with their elemental names.

East honored Air, element of new beginnings, of thought and inspiration.

South held sacred the Fire of transformation, of passion.

West represented Water, the cauldron of rebirth, the tides of emotion.

North, guardian of Earth, brought forth stability, protection and the ability to withstand anything.

With these dwarves, Freya shared her wisdom of love, the greatest mystery.  In honor of this, the dwarves created a magickal necklace, “the Brisingamen”, as a gift to the Goddess.


Years ago, I heard this myth and was captured by the idea of creating necklaces that women would treasure, because the piece made them feel strong or beautiful, or both.  So often, women forget their own wonder.  My hope is that the necklaces I create bring some of that magic back. 

Added to this inspiration is my love of rocks and handwork and my disinterest in repeating designs and well, I was hooked.  I've lost count of how many necklaces I've made over the years, but I'm so happy to know that so many are out in the world, spreading love and joy and strength.  I think Freya is proud too.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oldies but Goodies

I just re-organized all of my photos.  Everything, really, on eight flash drives.  

Look at the goodies I found:

Be Bold, circa late 1990s.  Fun lampwork and an old, painted wood earring.
Lovely agate, even prettier lampwork.  2003.
Polymer and pearls, circa late 1990s.

Paisley freeform collar.  Love the mix of blues and greens.  2002.
Old buddha pendant surrounded by turquoise cabs and funky lmapwork.  2008.
Be Blessed.  2006.  This is still one of my favorite pieces.
Lovely David Christensen glass (which I hoard!) and funky lampwork, circa 2000.
Frigga, made for a friend.  Love this artwork.  It's paired with birch bark from the tree in front of my house and stunning lampwork from Gubby Roo glass.  Circa 2004.
Phenomenal Woman.  Love this art print, mixed with word beads.  I can't bear to part with this one.  Circa 2000.
When I look at my work, sometimes it feels all over the place.  I think this is because I let the beads I'm using tell the stories.  Plus, I like that I've never done the same necklace twice.  I find that amazing, that after twenty years, there are still ideas to share.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Prepping for Holiday Sales

Oh, yes, I am.


Last winter, I did one major show and one extended show at a nearby art center.  This winter, I'm scheduled for the major show once again.  I've got a better idea of what price points work for the venue and what products.  I'll be in the same space, so that will be great for continuity.  Past customers will know where to find BrisingBeads.

What I'm focusing on RIGHT NOW is lining up more art center shows.  These are perfect venues for independent artists.  Usually, the art center sets up a Holiday Market as a fundraiser, taking a certain percentage of what's sold.  The sales run anywhere from two weeks to six weeks.  As an artist, the set-up is perfect.  You drop off the product and price it.  Some venues ask that you provide sales displays, some would rather create their own.  Some venues ask for a time donation to act as a sales person.  When the sale is over, you pick up any leftover product and a check is mailed out, typically in early January.  Easy peasy.

If this is something that sounds workable for you, do a search for "Holiday Market,"  "Holly Mart,"  "Mistletoe Market" in your area.  I've found that most places will add you to a mailing list.  Submissions happen anywhere from May to October.

I've contacted art centers all over Michigan.  I'd love to find some in other states as well, so if you find any venues that accept out-of-state vendors, let me know!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Writing Stories

For my summer employment, I've been transcribing oral histories of women veterans for the Grand Valley Veterans History Project.  Fascinating stuff. stock picture


Dr. Smither, who leads the oral history project, has a knack for getting the best stories out of the veterans.  Good details, memories that connect to larger events, preferences for the WAVE uniform over the WAAC uniform as a deciding factor in which branch of service to join.  Honestly, this came up several times.

Stick photo of WAAC uniforms.

An hour's recording takes about 8 hours to transcribe.  So, sometimes, it's not the most exciting project.  Until, unless, you get caught up in the story. 

I have a few interviews that I want to turn into short stories.  Like the woman whose first memory is of her father being taken away by Nazis on her seventh birthday.  Or the woman who worked as a decoder and ran messages to the White House.  And there's simple stories, too, of wives who followed their husbands all over the country, from post to post.  Or who had absolutely no contact with their loved one for the entire war period, not knowing if he were alive or dead. 

Listening to these twenty two stories, watching their faces as they shared memories and laughter and pain, reminded me that I'm a story-teller at heart.  I try to tell stories with my beadwork.  And it's the stories of every day, ordinary women that I find so fascinating about history.  'Cause it's in the stories that our strength shows, our sense of adventure comes alive. 

Oh, I have so many stories to write...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Buddies

The buddies, circa 2003.  Posturing with swords.
Oh, my goodness.  The Cuteness.

And now, they're all growed up.  And moving to Kansas.  And, as excited and proud as I am for my brother and sister-in-law's next adventure (Bubba is off to school to learn how to restore antique cars), I'm really going to miss my buddies.

'Cause, oh, my goodness.  The Cuteness.

Good luck on your new adventure, Mike, Donna, Dalton and Lucas!  (And Terry the dog, too.)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Run Screaming!

My beady e-friend Sarah Sequins has just written her first e-book, "Run Screaming!"

It's chock full of artist (and life) survival tips.  Written in a fun, easy dialogue, Sarah's sense of humor comes through, and so does her wisdom.  These are definitely some hard life lessons.  

I'm so glad she shared what she's learned!  For more info on her inspiration for the e-book, check out Sarah's blog:  Saturday Sequins.

Available now on Etsy - Run Screaming!