Monday, September 30, 2013

My Helper

Rhea Grace, almost 3
Rhea helps with the cooking, looking over the stove as I stir.  She's even good at inspecting the bathtub ring.  She loves doing laundry, helping me sort clothes into the washer.  But what she loves more that anything is to oversee the jewelry picture taking.

She's a pro.
She takes her work very seriously.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sequintastic Blog Hop!

You know how you can meet someone online and you just immediately "click?"  Their posts make you laugh or make you think or answer a question you've been longing to have answered.  Well Ms. Sarah, of Saturday Sequins is one of those people for me.  She even got me to put down the beads and try sequins!
Silk cocoons and sparkly sequins
So when Sarah wanted to host a blog hop for MORE sequins, I jumped all in.  Felt first.  Cuz the felt, it's my newest love.  My newest obsession.  And while beads will always be the center of be heart, felt makes me warm and fuzzy.  And the sequins?  They're like little sparkly ladybugs that just make me want to squee.  And giggle.  Cuz shiny paper/foil masquerading as beads?  Whee!

Autumn Garden, 2013
I love how the sequins work with the sari silk felting.  And the lucite flower blossoms add a nice touch of matte.  So bright, so colorful.  I think I'll wear this often.

If you're looking for more Sequintastic blog hoppers, check out the participants here.  And thanks, Sarah!  For setting this fun hop up!

Friday, September 27, 2013


I love copper.

The metal has such a richness.  It always feels like it's full of energy. 

I found these copper squiggles at HeHeBeads

These too, in brass. 

And, I'm sure that a pair of these will end up in earrings for moi.  'Cause fringe and copper, oh yeah.

Then, there's these lovely little discs from Seriousbeader.  They'll be fun to add it a collage piece.  And the drop with end up paired with a cabochon, I'm sure. 

But, of course, I do like to work large.  And this copper-colored stamping will be perfect.
Look how good it looks paired with a dichroic Goddess.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


In my own time.  On my own terms.  In my own way.  By my own definition.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mary Oliver. Genius Poet.

Sun Dance, 2010
Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?

Don't call this world adorable, or useful, that's not it.
It's frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.

But the blue rain sinks, straight to the white
feet of the trees
whose mouths open.
Doesn't the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?
Haven't the flowers moved, slowly, across Asia, then Europe,
until at last, now, they shine
in your own yard?

Don't call this world an explanation, or even an education.

When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking

to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea
that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb
curved and touching the finger, tenderly,
little love-ring,

as he whirled,
oh jug of breath,
in the garden of dust?

-from Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early (2004)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Felted Bracelets

For about the past five years, I've been trying to figure out how to do bracelets made of felt.  Unaware of the wonder of needle felting, I was stumped.  Until this wonderful angel of a vendor at the Michigan Fiber Fest casually showed me the magic.

So simple.

And now, my beady world has expanded to include this:
The perfect setting for a dicro Goddess, don't ya think?
And this, using a Julsbead heart:
I ordered elastic cording in different colors, 'cause I'm not happy with the white on the above piece.  But that hasn't stopped me from felting in the meantime...
Here, you can see a hint of an old Indian embroidered quilt.  I had it in the garage a few years ago and the mousies got to it over the winter.  So, I spent a day tearing it apart and now have SO many pieces of fun!  (I may list some extras on Etsy soon.)
What I love the most about this is the versatility.  Over the years, I've collected so many little trinkets and scraps of fabric and lace and embroidery.  Now, I have a home for them.
I'm looking forward to playing more, making some wider cuffs.  Even some belts.  (I have a lovely stash of belly dance coins I've hoarded for years.)  Maybe some small purses.  And next spring, I'll set up a wet-felting space in the garage, to do some scarves and shawls.
It feels really great to be inspired again.  I love doing bead embroidery and don't intend to stop.  But little about it surprises me anymore.  Felting feels like wonder.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I've been looking for Goddess-shaped dichroic pieces for many years.


And they were very worth the wait.  Robin Murphy, of The Goddess Rocks, makes these lovelies.

I'm planning an elaborate bead embroidered collar with one of these Goddesses as the focal.  And maybe another that has lots and lots of spring time flowers showered all over the embroidery.  The coppery colored one will probably be surrounded by fall leaves.  And maybe an acorn or two.  Really, the possibilities are endless.

You can contact Robin through her Etsy shop or through email.  Very reasonable pricing and quick shipping. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what else Robin comes up with!

Friday, September 13, 2013


When we went into production mode for the holidays, I also had to start thinking about booth props.

I'm not one to buy generic props.  I like the booth to be unique, because I think it helps it stand out but also because I think it fits the eclectic, bohemian feel of our jewelry.

On a recent trip to the local thrift store I found the PERFECT prop for our new line of brooches.

A fireplace screen.  For $7.  Sold.  I may spray paint it black, which would help it fit in with the dress form frames I have.  But I love the height that it will bring to the table.

Bracelet display is another problem solved.  
This old CD holder will work well.  It's sturdy and has three sides, about three feet tall, to fill up with wonderful lampwork and pearl bracelets.  For $4.  And it's already black, with spirals.  It'll fit right in.

With my student discount, I spent less than $10.  Score.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Feminism. Not just another f-word.

As I begin another school year teaching Gender & Women's Studies students, I'm reminded of what a bad rap "feminism" has gotten.  For many, it's THE most undesirable f-word out there.

For me, it's this notion that women and men are equals, and each should be treated as such.

If you're on Facebook, you may want to follow UniteWomen.  Great source of empowerment and information.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Last year, during holiday sales, we had several customers ask for brooches.  We had none.

This year, we'll be prepared!
Isn't this stunning?  Jaynee took an agate pendant and turned it into a work of art.
And then there's this beautiful blue geode.  I think it looks like a winter pond in the sunshine.
This brooch started its life as a turquoise donut.  I love the addition of the silver flower, especially 'cause the flower moves so it gives you something to fiddle with.
This turquoise lovely reminds me of a famous cherry blossom painting.
My personal favorite?  This geode.  So.Stunning.  It's very likely that this will end up in MY jewelry box.
Nope.  Didn't forget the bling.  Shiny shiny druzies!
Who knew that the brooch was so much fun to make?  Between Jaynee and I, we've got about 40 more in the queue.  Better get to work!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I could live here.

Gypsy Caravan
I imagine myself living here.  Probably not in the woods in a cold climate, though.  Probably near a mountain stream.

I love that it's tiny, but there's room inside for storage.  That the windows are big.  Mostly, that it's portable.

I could write in here, bead in here.  Dream in here.


Definitely go check out the link.  The pictures of the interior are just lovely.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fiber Festivals

If you saw my recent post on my new obsession (FELTING!), you may have wondered where to get the supplies to try your own projects.

While I'm still in the process of tracking down good Etsy suppliers and figuring out how to navigate Ravelry, I can highly recommend attending your local (or state) fiber festival.

The Michigan Fiber Festival is always held in mid-August, at the Allegan Fairgrounds.  We've attended in the past and the festival has been so-so.  However, this year, the festival seems to have found it's footing.  Everything was well laid out, with barns set aside for workshops and vending, and additional vending in tents scattered between the craft barns and the animal barns.

We went on Friday.  There was a decent crowd, enjoying fabulous weather.  Jaynee and I squealed our way around the fairground, finding wonderful buttons, gorgeous raku and oodles and oodles of yarn and roving.  It was a budget buster day, but so worth it.  Frankly, these are the kinds of events to save for.  And then, spend at!

I love to interact with vendors selling their own product.  When one of the vendors showed me in five minutes how to make a bead and answered questions about felting that I hadn't figured out in five years, I coulda kissed her!

I think that one of the things I love best about artists and crafters - how willing most people are to share ideas.  When asked what we were going to do with "all those buttons," everyone was so interested in how to do bead embroidery.  Frankly, I'm considering vending at the show next year.  I think if I could come up with kits, they'd go over really well.

I also came home full of color and texture inspiration.  Oh my!  So much to play little time...

A quick Google search should let you know where the nearest Fiber Festivals are to you.  I think we may head to one in Ann Arbor in October.  If I can hold out that long.  Some of that roving on Etsy has my name on it, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Live your dream.

'Cause why not?  What do you have to lose?

I've been wanting to play with felt and collage for quite a while.  Happy with how this turned out.  Excited to play with more of these.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


I find that the busier I am, the more creative I feel.  Which should be great for the next few months, as I've got three job commitments, two heavy-duty classes, a national conference to present at, a French translation exam to pass, and a business to run.

I'll either be very very creative or very very exhausted.  But, it's a wonderful life.