Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Cooking in Bead Soup Land?

The Bead Soup Blog Party will take place Saturday, May 3rd, and I am finally getting some of my pieces made.  FINALLY!  I've been flat on my back for almost forever, it seems, and in fact, one piece I made in bed, flat on my back!   To give you a hint of what I used, take a look at the bead soup I mixed up.....




Very summery, right?  That round green beads you see perched in the middle is from one of my partner's soup contributions, and the rest is a mix I literally threw together.  Too much green?  Add some blue.  How about ANOTHER shade of blue?  And some fruit... yeah, fruit.  There are some lemons and pears in there, and a lime, see?


I'll be showcasing my two partners soon!  In the meantime, I'm hustling to get things done and photographed.  I take all of my pictures now with natural light, so I keep an eye on the weather forecast the week before the party.  If you're a participant in the blog hop, keep that in mind!  


I'm so proud of this event, now in its 8th iteration.  I think this may be it for a while, though.  It's grown so large (nearly 500 people this time, 500 some last time) that the logistics of pairing partners is astonishingly difficult.  I have a couple of other ideas up my sleeve, and you'll probably see a variation of the BSBP next year, but it won't involve swapping.  I think a year off to freshen it up and take a rest will do me some good, and allow for some other fun things to take place.


This is a map of last year's party.  This year's party looks pretty much the same.  Only two states didn't have any participants, and the international reach was huge.




That map takes HOURS to pin, with my husband calling out zip codes to me for the US and then the two of us relying on our knowledge of geography to find the cities for the other countries, so this year, I'm going to say, "refer to last year's map".  I have a pie chart instead (PIE!) and I'll list out the countries.


OK!  Thank you for reading!




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Etsy Finds! The Bead Addition

I haven't done an Etsy finds in FOR-EV-ER.  I'm  long overdue!  Hope this introduces you to some cool new artists!


This artist makes these beautiful handmade lampwork glass cones in all sorts of color combinations!  You can find her at Chestnut Ridge Designs.



Pretty and unusual ceramic beads by Shaterra



Incredibly cool crimps by Eden Art Glass



Amazing glass pendant by Koy Glass (I need this.)



Copper components by Kristi Bowman.


I could go on and on, but this should whet your appetite!


Happy shopping!





Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Fever Blog Hop


Well.

I was soooo excited to be chosen to participate in this blog hop.

I mean, look at the kits they were sending out!




And my inner greedy girl went...




And believe me, when I got my kit, I was stoked.  
They were so pretty.

Pretty,
pretty,
pretty.


Unfortunately, since receiving them and today, my brain has been in a fog and I do NOT know what happened to my creative muse or my writing muse because they most certainly are not with me right now.  I regretfully had to bow out at the last minute, which I NEVER do, but I just couldn't do anything at all.  I mean, even watching TV was too much effort.  Seriously.  


However, I am going to team up with one of the other ladies who couldn't make it and we'll show you our designs at a later time.  In the meantime, won't you take a look at what the others made? They're AMAZING.

Erin Prais – Hintz – http://treasures-found.blogspot.co.uk/

Stay tuned -- hopefully I'll be back soon!



Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Strongest Drug

I love this, and it's true for me, anyway.  Why not contact a friend today, just because?  <3




By Golly Bard





Saturday, April 05, 2014

Plot Twist !!!!!!

Thanks for the comments on my last post.  I shared the beginning of that saga in my Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe and the outpouring of love, concern, and shared stories was epic.  When I wonder if I say the wrong thing or share too much and turn people off, I read emails that make me know it was OK.  I want to make a difference and I'm looking forward to when it's about much more cheerful subjects!





I love plot twists in books (and boy do I ever love books!) so why not embrace them in real life?  I know, right?  What an awesome idea!


I turned 45 last Saturday, and when I look back over those years, I'm amazed at all the plot twists and character changes and set designs.  When I was living through some of my darkest days, I had no idea they would lead to enormous awesomeness.  Sometimes I wish there were a fast forward button to get past the scary parts, but the scary parts are what make me able to walk into dark basements without a flash light now.


And that is pretty darned double awesome.





I keep thinking back to books.  I hold one and don't have any idea what lies in store.  Not being able to figure out the ending actually makes for a great book, in my opinion.  Enjoy the story.  Laugh, cry, but read the story.  And likewise, live the life you were given. Learning to let go and just live has been hard for me, but I'm getting nowhere fighting myself.  Chill, honey. Ride it out and enjoy the scenery.











I am lucky.


My story isn't over, and I'm sure it has a happy ending.





Friday, April 04, 2014

Overcoming Morphine

(A bit long and intense, but my next posts will be fun and bead-friendly, I promise.)


If you're new to my blog, it won't take much scrolling through back posts to discover I've had some rough years.  Migraines, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, misdiagnosed with lupus, CORRECTLY diagnosed with Lyme disease plus its many evil friends ... yup.  Not been a good couple of years on the health front.


If you're a long-time reader, you already know that I bare my soul here.  Today's post is very personal and potentially controversial, but I know there are people out there in the same boat, and now that this particular boat of mine has finished its journey and safely docked, I want to share my story.




For the longest time, my only real pain issue was chronic, frequent migraines.  I've tried practically everything on the market, had spinal taps, nerve blocks, the whole nine yards.  I didn't take pain medication because nothing helped.  I just slap an ice pack (gently) on my head, put an eye mask on to block the light, and lie veryveryvery still until it goes away.  I've had these since I was six, so I'm used to it.


Then the back pain from degenerative disc disease I was diagnosed with twenty years ago became a problem.  I got epidural injections for a while, then acupuncture.  While my back was being treated, my pain kept escalating in my joints and muscles.  The doctor knew it was unrelated to my back, and *I* knew I needed relief.  Please.  PRETTY please. Thus began my foray into the world of opiates.


First I was prescribed Tylenol 3. Then something stronger.  Vicodin, Percoset, Oxycontin.  It was like taking Tic Tacs.  No relief.  Nada.


That led to being prescribed slow-release morphine about a year ago.


The good thing about slow release -- there was no "high" feeling. Not at all.  I couldn't tell I was taking it.  That, though, was the bad part.  It wasn't helping, either.


In hindsight, I should have given up then and just tried to gut it out.  But before I was correctly diagnosed with Lyme disease, my body was fighting itself and all the lupus drugs that were being thrown at me.  I ached so badly I cried in my sleep.  Then I quit sleeping more than a couple hours at a time.  I hurt.  And I was scared.


What the bed started to feel like.



It takes no time at all to become addicted to morphine.  I knew that going in.  I knew I eventually had to quit taking those nasty dark blue pills, but my doctors were worried about the withdrawal process.  I've been severely depressed over everything and a bad withdrawal could potentially bring back suicidal thoughts.  Plus, they felt it HAD to be giving me SOME relief.  I felt damned if I do, damned if I don't.  I won't lie.  It was easier to keep taking the morphine, even when it no longer worked, than face the fear of withdrawal.


I had to quit, though, when a routine liver panel showed I'd passed into the toxic range and I had fatty liver disease.  It's reversible, but not fun.  I know exactly where my liver is because I can feel it.  It hurts.


I've been prescribed a million different things in the past ten years for this and that, and I imagine I've had fatty liver longer than I realize.  Drugs, both over the counter and prescribed, can wreak havoc on your liver.  I got my blood tested regularly, but when it jumped to toxic, I knew ... it's time.


As irony would have it, I began at-home detoxing right after sign ups for the Bead Soup Blog Party. What timing!  Almost 500 people counting on me to be on my A Game.  According to the doctor, I could detox in two weeks.  Well, that's not bad, I thought.  I'll be right as rain in time for partner pairing.


Let's just say that particular detox attempt was a colossal failure.  WAY too fast.  So, back on the morphine train.


Choo freaking choo.

Thinking about this little guy (taken in 2005) has helped me through it all.


I couldn't wait two months for my next appointment.  I wanted off that train NOW. I felt like a ticking time bomb, feeding my body with poison that had quit working long ago.  Time for the Big Girl Pants.  After some research, Rick and I devised our own detox.


(Pausing here to say, what worked for me does not mean it will work for you.  I'm not a doctor.  We did tell the doctor our plan, and he said go ahead, but we had to wing it a bit.)


Fast forward to now.  I haven't taken morphine in two weeks.  And I'm not going back.  I hurt just the same, no more and no less, which is actually a good thing.  Why take something when it doesn't work?  It would be a lot harder to kick the habit if it DID make me feel right as rain.  But it didn't. And strangely, I'm glad.


Detox is a humbling experience.  I was sick, miserable with myself, upset with everyone and everything.  I cried.  A lot.  I wanted to cave in and start taking those pills that weren't taking the pain away just to make withdrawal stop.


But I didn't.


I'm working with a team of doctors using as many natural remedies as possible, and I think twice and three times before even taking an aspirin.  Gutting it out through the bad parts is not my strong point.  I'm a total wimp in the face of an ouchie.  This is the right thing for me, though, and I have to keep reminding myself that in order to truly get well, I need to be healthy, not just mask the symptoms.


No matter where you are today in your journey, may you find safe haven.  I still have a lot of ships out at sea that haven't docked home yet, but they're coming in.


I'll keep the light on for you.








Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.













Thursday, March 27, 2014

Checking two things off my Bucket List, thanks to Belle Armoire Jewelry and Jewelry Affaire

This is actually old news, but there has been so much to pack into the amount of time I have during a day that I'm just now getting around to telling you some awesome news.


You've heard the term Bucket List, right?  I've never actually sat down and written one and checked things off, but there's definitely a list in my mind.  I finally got to mentally check off two things in quick succession and I'm SO excited.  I haven't felt like I've accomplished much of anything for a while, so this felt extra special with pie on top.


I've long admired every publication Stampington puts out.  Their magazines shouldn't even be called "magazines".  They're the size (and often larger) than many crafting books, the paper is sublime (I have a thing about paper texture), and the articles and tutorials are inspiring.  Two jewelry publications, Jewelry Affaire and Belle Armoire Jewelry, are the two I buy consistently, and I've always admired the artistry, and longed for the day when I might make something that would fit inside their pages.


I was shocked when Jewelry Affaire contacted me, asking me if I'd be interested in writing an article about the Bead Soup Blog Party®.  I actually had to check the email address to make sure I wasn't getting spoofed!  But it was true, and they included a lovely assortment of Bead Soup participant's work in the magazine, as well as showing the "raw" soups themselves.  This came out in the Autumn 2013 edition.

buy it here

I was very pleased they included so many people's creations AND the soups they started with, all over ten pages.   And if you want to see even more awesome creations, come visit my blog on May 3rd for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal!



Use the up and down scroll bars of the embedded file to see.


Following in those footsteps came the news that a necklace I'd made for a button blog hop, using a domed silver three pence piece that Niky Sayers sent to me made the grade.  It was a piece I was extremely proud of, using not only the pence, but vintage lace, copper, white patinaed copper from Miss Fickle Media, pewter button links from Ornamentea, and vintage mother of pearl buttons from my own scarily vast collection.  I sent a photo in, and was thoroughly shocked and delighted when they asked me to send it.  

It appears in the Winter 2014 edition of the quarterly magazine Belle Armoire Jewelry.  I have to say -- getting a tutorial into this magazine made me feel like I had finally made it.   I can't quite explain why, other than to say check out Stampington's publications, and you'll instantly get a certain feel.


Buy it by clicking here

And here's the necklace.




I did the metal texturing and and patina for the copper semicircle and links, and overcame my fear of riveting to give some interest and polish to the pendant.  And I went against my incredibly Type A personality to make "messy wraps" of all the linkages.  Oh, man, I love how it looks when other people do it but I've never been good at it.  To add a little something extra, I melted the ends of the silver wire to create a balled end so it would look a little more "done".  As for connecting the pence and lace, I merely punched two holes in the copper and "sewed" the button on with thin wire.  I made the clasp by creating a traditional hook shape and then wound it with thinner wire.


There!  I did it.  Two things to check off the list.  I'm not nearly as afraid to contact these magazines anymore, but even if I never get published in them again, I'm thankful and grateful for the opportunities.


Thanks for sharing my joy!




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What have I been doing with my jewelry web site? (and update on shows)

Back in what seems the dark ages, I updated my jewelry web site every weekend (if not every day), had a robust and active newsletter, and did a lot of juried craft shows.  Ah, how times have changed!


Today I sent out a mass email newsletter to my patrons for the first time in probably a year.  If you have been wondering why the web site hasn't been mentioned and why you haven't seen much jewelry here, either, the following is the newsletter.  If you would like to join the newsletter, just leave me a comment with it and I'll add you.


Hello! 

Long time, no see, I know.

 

It's been at least a year since I sent out a newsletter, and I hope you'll read this one and stay subscribed, because I'm very hopeful that this year will be an enormous change from the last year and a half.


In a nutshell, I have been suffering from Lyme disease, a mold infection (both in my brain), and a handful of other things that developed because of it.  For the first year, I was misdiagnosed with Lupus, and the medicine I was given actually made things worse.  Thanks to one of my AMAZING customers, I am now in the care of a Lyme-literate doctor who got me diagnosed properly is getting me on the road to recovery.  It's slow going -- I can have three hours out of bed a day, three days straight in bead, I never know.  It's very difficult to plan beyond the next hour.


That being said, to those of you who were going to see me (and help me celebrate my 45th birthday) this coming weekend and the Craftsmens' Classic, I will not be able to attend.  However, if you are ever in the mood to visit me in my home in Easton, MD, I can gladly make arrangements for a private showing.  I also am teaching jewelry making classes for a nominal fee.  Email me for more information by clicking here.


To get a discount coupon or preorder your tickets for the Chantilly, VA Craftsmens' Classic, click here.


My web site is currently set up only to take Paypal (that will change soon) and for certain computers, you may get a notice that it's insecure.  It IS secure, but the way my developer programmed it, when I took the credit card option away, it automatically spits out that message.  That will be amended soon, too.  If you would prefer to pay via credit card or check, all you have to do is email me.

 
There is very little left on my web site,
but everything is marked 30% off,
the deepest discount I ever give
.

 
 


I will be adding new and (in my opinion) improved jewelry very soon!  And if you follow me on Facebook (here), or my blog (here), you'll often get first crack at any jewelry I make, as I've had things sell in 30 seconds of posting (thank you thank you thank you).


The next email will be to announce new jewelry.  YAY!






 

Do you like to make jewelry?  

I wrote a book!

My popular blog hop, the Bead Soup Blog Party, attracted the interest of Kalmbach Publishing, and two years later, it came out to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and now Michaels Craft Stores.  If you would like an autographed book plate, all you have to do is send me what you'd like it to say and your address and I'll send it right off!

New Jewelry Coming Soon!


Even though I've been bed-bound, there are still days when I have been up and at it and I have many new designs that are just waiting to be photographed and put on the web site.  I'll be back with an update email as soon as I've loaded the web site, www.lorianderson.net
Copyright © 2014 Lori Anderson Designs, All rights reserved. 
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making a wish at the dentist

Today Zack had his annual dental checkup (no cavities, thank you Sonicare and flossing!).  Next step....braces, which will be interesting because he still has 12 baby teeth that haven't come out and he's eleven.  I'm not sure how that will work but as soon as my braces come off (next month, I think!), his go on.


The pediatric dentist gives balloons to all the kids, and back when Zack was very little, I told him that if he made a wish and let the balloon go, when the balloon traveled a while and popped, his wish would rain down.  This originally started not because I'm a cool mom, but a mom who was tired of chasing down half-deflated balloons and also appreciated being able to drive without being beaned in the back of the head with said balloon.


I love that even at eleven, he's still very much my sweet little boy, the kidlet who I used to be able to carry.  In so many ways, he's mature beyond his years, but in others...still innocent and wide-eyed (may he never lose that).   Instead of turning down the balloon as too babyish, he took it.


When we went outside, I asked if he was going to make a wish.  He asked if it was OK to say it out loud and I said yes, I didn't believe in the superstition of not telling.


He used to wish for what you'd expect from a little boy ... Lego, Hot Wheels, pizza.


But not today.

by Leslie Sophia Lindell



Today he said, "I wish my mom would get better REALLY SOON!".  Then he tossed his orange balloon into the winter sky and hugged me as we watched....

and watched.....

and watched.


My heart is full today.





Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

On Friendship

Tapping this out on my Kindle, hoping it doesn't crash again, but it's been a while, and there are some special things I hope to write about soon, but I am just too exhausted.


But I do want to make a comment about friendship.


I don't have a lot of close friends.  I know a lot of people online (and I think a lot of the time, you can really know who is real online and who is blowing smoke, although we've all been fooled at some point, I'm sure).  But as to people I go out with, talk to weekly, have coffee with, just sit with....well.  THAT is a different story.


I think back to when I had tangible friends, and I realize since I no longer have a corporate job, no longer teach fitness classes, and live in a small town, it may not be, as I've often considered, all my fault.  And I am, I firmly believe, "socially awkward ".


It's not catching, but it IS uncomfortable.

I have this, from fishcakesoboy on Etsy



I am very lonely as I try to get better.  I used to be called a workaholic, the Energizer Bunny. Now, largely because I don't see an end in sight to the Lyme disease and liver toxicity and weight loss and brain freezes and nausea, I've gone beyond Socially Awkward to Socially Invisible.


And yet.  That is not entirely true.  I learned that a couple days ago.  The experience totally changed my outlook on what a friend is.  A friend doesn't always have to be someone who's been in your life since grade school.  A friend just needs empathy for a person when they need it, and gives that empathy (or humor, or whatever the situation calls for) without hesitation.  No pettiness, no eye rolls, but kindness.






The other day I was in a very bad place, worse than usual, and I needed someone to talk to me, about ANYTHING, until my husband got home (an hour's drive off).  I bared my soul and posted on Facebook.  I was afraid to try and call anyone from my small list of numbers because if I got an answering machine, it would have wrecked me....that's how crappy I felt. I didn't want to call Rick and have him drive the entire hour on hands free, worrying.


So I posted a call for help.


And people came.


People I've met at shows.  People I've emailed a few times about beads.  People who I didn't recognize.  In the time it took for Rick to get home, these people, these FRIENDS, let me be weak and held me up.  I know it's a risk every time I put my soul out there, but the good from doing that far outweighs the bad for me.  It's not for everyone, and when Rick got home, I thanked everyone and deleted the post.




I don't delete posts because I'm afraid, as some have scornfully said in the past. I deleted that post because it had other people's personal things on it, and in the rush to help, maybe they didn't want all that out there.  Plus, I'd internalized everything and didn't want to revisit that particular hour of my life.


 (By the way, empathy and scorn don't even exist in the same stratosphere, so to the few comments or emails I get from some who feel it's OK to hurt me, you should really evaluate life and where we all fit in it.  You don't have to like everything I say or do, but manners and tact and empathy are how I hope you deal with people you find "lesser".)


I don't particularly enjoy writing about The Sads, but it's part of my life.  It is not my ENTIRE life, but it certainly has changed it, and I have to believe (HAVE to believe) that whenever I come out of this, I'm going to be healthier than I've ever been and ready to take on the world again.


But this time, I'll know what's worth my time, and what (and who) is not.


I hope my readers, who I love and respect so much, hang with me.  If you hate these posts, I hope you come back for the fun stuff.  And there IS fun stuff.


Love to all, and thank you.