Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas in Pictures

I've been working on my New Year's post in my head for a while now, and it's just not ready.  I have so much to say but no energy for it at the moment.


This week has been amazing and crazy-making at the same time.  The worst part -- I spent almost the entire last week in bed.  My pain management doctor went on vacation without leaving anyone in charge to write refills for pain meds, and mine are too strong for just anyone to write.  While that sucked on a royal level of suckage, it also gave me some opportunities I may not have had otherwise.  I watched a ton of movies, read a lot of books (including reading "The Hobbit" to Zack and starting the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and crocheted a bunch of blankets and scarves.  Pain will not keep me from staying busy on some level!  And since pain kept me awake longer hours, I had more time in which to enjoy these things.  Looking on the bright side helped.



Today I got my prescription filled and I'm taking advantage of being up to be with my family, but I'm stopping here for a quick photo view of the past month.


Around the middle of the month, we drove to visit my Dad.  And what should my eye light upon first, as we walked in and gazed upon the tree?


Oh. No.

And there wasn't just one.  There were three of the creepy things.


Mr. Ray, as Zack calls his grandfather, got him the LEGO kit he had been wanting for ages.  Every time I think SURELY we have all the LEGO Star Wars kits that could possibly be made, out comes another one!





Pretty soon those LEGO instruction books are going to be as large and complicated as my Organic Chemistry textbooks.  They certainly cost as much!


After we got home, I opened packages to discover this ADORABLE present from Sherry Ellison of Creatology.  Remember my random blog post about losing my marbles?  Sherry is amazing with a needle and thread and made this cute fabric origami box and filled it with marbles (and included some extra ones in case I lose any more!)




One goal for this coming year?  Holding on to my marbles.  


Our Christmas was lovely.  I only wish it had snowed!  Santa brought Zack a keyboard with instructions to "share it with your Mommy".  I wish we had room for a real piano, but now I can teach Zack how to play and eventually find a place to take advanced lessons myself.  The highlight of the afternoon was being able to play the "Linus and Lucy" Charlie Brown theme.



(Did you notice the elf sitting where the sheet music goes?)


Rick and I give each other presents throughout the year since neither of us is very good at keeping secrets.  I have actually lost some of the smaller presents I bought for the guys as I hid them TOO well.  Their Christmas Eve tradition of opening an ornament was fouled up because the only ornament I could find was (thankfully) Zack's.  I have NO IDEA where I hid those other ornaments.  Or a few other small things.  


ANYWAY, because we give each other presents during the year, Christmas is not a huge deal between Rick and I for giving gifts to each other -- it's all about the boys.  But he never ceases to surprise and amaze me.  My favorite gift this year, I think, was a new addition to my vintage camera collection.  He gave me a miniature/spy camera and film to go with it.  It's only about 3" long and I ADORE it.


He also scored a deal on a bunch of vintage typewriter ribbon tins.  While I collect typewriters, I have four adult and three toy ones and there's just not much room for any more, but there's always room for a cool tin!  Remember me showing you this pink Panama ribbon tin some time ago?




Now I have an orange one!   I don't know why I love vintage tins of all different sorts, but I do, and this year I'm going to have to figure out how to build a case to display them properly.


And lastly, we got a family gift of Trivial Pursuit.  Whenever the older boys come home, playing games, particularly Trivial Pursuit, is high on the list of must-dos.  Between Ebay and finding them in stores, we now have every edition of the game.  We even bought the kid's version so Zack can play with us more easily. 




So here we are, on New Year's Eve, and I'm looking forward to tonight's game.  I'm hoping to be able to sum up my thoughts of the past year and hopes for the coming year soon, and I hope they come out cogently and with the right expression.  


Thank you all so VERY much for visiting, reading, commenting, and emailing me this year.  All of those things were an incredible gift.


Thank you.





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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Upcoming Jewelry and Beading Blog Hops

Just a quick reminder of two beading blog hops coming up soon.


First is the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop, which will take place on January 12th.  You can learn more about this blog hop by clicking here.

Technically, the deadline to sign up has passed, BUT, as this blog hop does not involve swapping beads, if you want to participate, you can email me by clicking here.





Next comes the Bead Soup Blog Party®, which is now only taking place ONCE A YEAR -- and sign ups are coming up fast!  You do NOT want to miss this one.  The last one had 400 beaders from all over the world, in all genres, in all skill levels, and the book about it (with tutorials and a gallery from past Bead Soupers) can be bought by clicking here.

To learn about this blog hop, click here.

To grab the button for your blog, click here.


You can also go back through the Bead Soup Blog Party's® page,  
and see what the past six blog hops have been like.  
You are guaranteed to meet a lot of jewelry designers 
and bead makers you've never met before, 
and you'll be inspired by all the creativity!


If you'd like to join the Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe, go to www.BeadSoupCafe.com and click to join.  Due to Facebook rules, once the group got past a certain number of members, I couldn't change the group to a public group, so don't worry that it says private -- just a minor inconvenience that one day Facebook may get around the changing.  Here is the blog button for the group if you'd like to link it on your blog:



I have several other unique blog hops in store for the year, but these are the first two!  I hope to see you soon!


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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Spending the Holidays Alone -- a year later

(This post from last year has been getting a lot of hits and emails lately, so I thought I'd post it again, with a few edits.  I hope it helps someone.)



Our tree, taken by me lying underneath it.     


For most of us, I dare say, the holidays are a joyful time with family and friends, great food, surprising gifts, and a general warm feeling of happiness.


However, there are a number of people who hate the holidays and I used to be one of them.  There are so many wonderful posts about the great times, but I wanted to acknowledge those for whom this time of year can be dreaded, difficult, and hard.


When I was in the military, Christmas didn't mean all that much.  No tree, no family, no gifts -- just another day.  I'd always volunteer for day duty so those who had their families with them could celebrate.  I have religious beliefs that make Christmas meaningful, but the loneliness was like a heavy fog.


Then when I was 30, I pretty much hit rock bottom in my life.  I spent the worst Christmas ever alone in my house.  I think I spent a lot of it in bed.  But the desire to be a part of a celebration was horribly painful.


Some of you have lost loved ones.  Some of you may not be able to see family.  Some of you may dread this holiday more than going to the dentist for a root canal.


I understand all of this.

To counteract these feelings surrounding the holiday, consider trying some of these things:


** Sounds trite, but volunteer in a soup kitchen or hospital.  I've been dirt poor, both financially and emotionally, and connecting with those who came to the kitchen or those in hospital was uplifting all the way around.


** Do Pay-It-Forwards for strangers -- buy them a cup of coffee if they're behind you in line, hand a card to a stranger, things like that.


**  Drive around and look at the lights.  That has always made me happy.  Be sure to take a cup of hot chocolate with you!


**  Do at least one good thing for yourself.  Buy yourself a gift -- a longed-for book, a decadent box of chocolates, a movie -- and enjoy every bit of it yourself, smiling the entire time.



** Email me.  Because I get it.  I've been on both sides of the fence.  (***Edited-- I do mean this.  This post was written in 2011, but it's 2012 and I'm still getting emails, and I WILL answer them.)


I write an open, sometimes raw blog.  Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's like this -- introspective and possibly depressing.  But I'm trying to change the depressing to an open invitation to celebrate with me.  I want to make your holiday a better one.


I'm not trying to be narcissistic or Mother Teresa, thinking I can cure all ills.  I'm just hoping that someone who's having a rough holiday will see this and know they're not alone.  I would have given anything for that in past years.


Lots of love, respect, and care to you.

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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Elf on the Shelf -- The Near Debacle

Oh dear Lord.


Many, MANY times during my tenure of motherhood, I've felt a day late and a dollar short.  I keep finding out about things that would have been cool when Zack was three -- but now he's nine.  And then I learn about traditions I just never knew about because we never did anything like that when I grew up.


I've been noticing this mildly creepy looking elf in the bookstore along with the book "The Elf on the Shelf", but I bypassed it because if *I* thought the little guy looked a little .... freaky ... then surely Zack would, too.


Last night, while reading "The Hobbit" to him (something I am at least on time with for once), Zack popped up out of bed and said, "Do we have any crackers?????  Oh, and a glass of water."


Well that was a little off-topic from Gandalf and My Precious but I'm used to that with Zack.


"What kind of crackers?" I asked, starting to get nervous, because, you know... this is Zack.


"If we put out water and crackers, in the morning, we get AN ELF!!!!" he exclaimed, clapping his hands.  I, on the other hand, widened my eyes in horror because it's 8pm and Mommy has no mad elf-making skillz. 


"Um, honey, I don't know that elves always come out that way,"  I said, still frantically trying to come up with something because when Zack gets an idea going, it doesn't stop.  No, it goes on and on until it's been completed and then some.


After a little conversation about elves (we had this similar conversation about freaking leprechauns in March, I swear), we went back to reading "The Hobbit" -- but I was still worried.


As I should have been.  Because today, when we came home from school, Zack asked if we could go get an elf.


"Don't you think it's kind of creepy?  I mean, we don't like clowns, it looks like a clown's kid, don't you think?"  I asked.  (Bad Mommy.  Think of the children.  The poor little clown children.)


But no.  I did some research on the internet and found out what the hoopla about "The Elf on the Shelf" is about and I've already missed half the danged month.  But next week, when we have a mommy/son play date to the book store, guess what we're buying?


A creepy little elf.  But it will make the boy happy.  


That elf just better not end up on my night stand in the middle of the night.



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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Everyone Has an Opinion

As you can probably tell, I've not been blogging much.  I sit down to blog, write a few things, then delete them.  I've recently lost the respect of some people I cared about because they don't like how I blog or what I blog about, and the net result is I'm afraid of my own words now. 


Art by Obsolete World


I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking and wondering.  Today I ran across this article that was perfectly timed, and I wanted to share it, as it hit me hard -- in a good way.





It's an awesome article for anyone who's making life changes and tells how to safeguard yourself against opinions that can damage.  I hope you'll take some time to read it -- it's not long and really, really good.


I've learned a lot of things this year, and I'm absorbing it all and hopefully will be able to make more positive changes in my thinking.  Therapy helps a LOT.  I've learned that a friend doesn't necessarily have to be physically in my neighborhood, but can be an online friend, or a distant friend I haven't seen in years.  And it's better to have no friends or family at all than to constantly be wondering why I'm not good enough for respect, empathy, or understanding.  I have my husband and son and they are indeed the best things that have ever happened to me.  There is such a thing as unconditional love.


Really, I wish I had been able to write that article -- it's so very perfect.  I am 100% responsible for how I feel about my life, so I'm 100% responsible for who I allow in it and what I allow to bother me. Friends, family, co-workers -- they can be toxic or hurt us with passive aggressive (or just plain aggressive!) words, but we don't have to take it.  It's up to any of us to decide whether a relationship is fixable or not.  Just don't wait so long to decide that you end up hurting your own feelings.


Light shining through clouds outside my home.


Next year is going to be a banner year.  I can feel it.  With all the changes I'm making now, the things I'm tentatively exploring and the things I'm rapidly embracing, there's no way it can't be.  My word for the year IS "metamorphosis", after all.  


I think I'm ready to break out of that chrysalis.




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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Participants for Memories and Thanks Blog Hop



I am overwhelmed at the outpouring of sign ups for this special blog hop.  If you are just now learning about it, click here to read about its premise.  I can add people still, but below is the current list of participants.


The blog hop doesn't occur until January 12th next year, but why not visit the participants' blogs over the holidays when you are enjoying some down time with a glass of something yummy (and pie, of course.  Always pie).


Thank you to everyone!



Hostess, Lori Anderson       Pretty Things



 Adlinah Kamsir                   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo               Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache                 All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu               Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank                      Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway                   Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem                         Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake                    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery                         Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle                Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick                       Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King                    Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier                      The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz                     Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler                   FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka                       Clay Space
Christina Hickman              Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Murrow               Charis Designs Jewelry
Christine Stonefield            Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman               Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson                      It's My Sea of Dreams
CJ Bauschka                       4 His Glory Creations by CJ
Crystal Thain                      Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin                        Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen             A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman             Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez                  Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey                    diane hawkey
Dita Basu                            ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington             Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd                        A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny                         beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz                  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen                        Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston                 CSW Designs
Inge von Roos                    Inge's Blog
Iveth Caruso                       Creative Atelier
Jacqueline Marchant          Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp                         Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates                          Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo                   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten    Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren                  Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray                   Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams                     lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton            It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne                   josjewels1
Jodie Marshall                    Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes                 Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen                 Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe                       The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean                           Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell                   Over the Moon Designs
Karin King                         The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton                       Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas                       Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton                        Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson     The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor                          Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak                       CianciBlue
Kim Houston                       The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter                         Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton                Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch                          LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus                      First Impression Design
Liddy McLaughlin               Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian                       Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder                     Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton                      Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver                            Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud        Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe                           Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell                    Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron                       Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster                 MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne                     The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert                      Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite     bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo                        Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo                           Ornamento
Marti Conrad                          Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker                  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars                        MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell                          Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly                 Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay                       The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin                         The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara                      one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta                         Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz              la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi               Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody               Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett                          Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen                    Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson                  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas                      Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren                           re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister        The Crazy Creative Corner
Pam Traub                            Klassy Joolz
Priya Krish                           Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson               Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag                 Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed                   Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson                  a creative chelle
Rosa Maria Cuevas              Helena de Troya
Sabine Dittrich                     perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe                          Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff                    Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode                         Pookledo
Sarah Singer                         String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent                         All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams                       Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac                        Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis                         Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner        Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey                       Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun                         Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z                         Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler              Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey                        Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.                                Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter                         Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk                    Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels                       Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse                         Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin                        Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks                              Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin                          Beads, Tea and Sweets
  


See you January 12th next year for the hop!



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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Childhood









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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday -- Where I Question My Sanity

Zack has been working all year to earn an X-Box.  I refused to buy another gaming system so told him if he wanted an X-Box, he had to pay for it.  It was hard for him, because there were other things along the way this year that he "REALLY HAD TO HAVE" (emphasis his) and he dug into his money for those, but after all, this was a lesson about saving to buy something and if he wanted to stall the process a bit for something else, it was good for him to learn and figure things out along the way.





(Those who know me should not fear -- Zack has not gone without fun things this year.  It's pretty much impossible to not buy things for that kid because 90% of the time I get as much enjoyment out of them as he does.  And when it comes to books, there are NO limits.  Mmm mmm.   Nope.  Booooooks.  I am so glad he loves books!)


He finally earned his XBox and just as Christmas stuff starts making its way earlier and earlier into the stores (say, after Mother's Day), so do the Black Friday events.  It's not Friday, but a local store is starting their Black Friday at 8pm.  And I thought I could make a memory with Zack, much like driving to look at Christmas lights, by taking him to this Black Friday event and treating him to a new XBox game.



What was I thinking??????

First, let me say, I am very pro-buy-handmade.  When someone can hand-make me a LEGO Lord of the Rings game, I'll gladly buy it.  But it is really tough to buy a nine-year old kidlet handmade, although I've done pretty well with the older boys this year -- so far, all but one thing is handmade by someone NOT in a big corporation.  That being said -- those of you with boys in the throes of video game and LEGO ecstasy, you know my pain. 


Now, the store was going to open at 8pm.  I'd done my research and there is no independent video game store in our driving area, so we were faced with the ubiquitous local Wal-mart.  Heaven help me.  I figured we would go in, go straight to the game section, get it, get out.

Obviously, I've never done a Black Friday, in like, ever.


My older stepsons, who've been through a few Black Friday shopping excursions themselves, looked at me like I'd said I was going to feed Zack Nyquil with a bourbon chaser when I blithely mentioned our plan.  Did I remember this is a child who doesn't do well in crowds?  Or that loud noises can sometimes freak him out?  And when pushed, I've been known to throw an elbow?


I guess the decision to go out tonight ended for good when Zack showed up to go with a bat in his hand.

WTH?  



Me:  "Um.  What's up with the bat, buddy?"


Zack:  "Weellllll.  I heard that sometimes people get KILLED on Black Friday.  (Insert big eyes here.  His.  Then mine.) I don't want to get killed.  But I PROMISE I won't hit anyone.  Think it will scare them?"


Well, it scared ME!  (Who told him those stories about Black Friday, anyway?????) His older brother found a way to download a game to his XBox and I ordered the other one.

So we came up with a new tradition -- skip Black Friday in big stores and instead enjoy pie with whipped cream, ALL made by scratch.  


No bats.  Just spoons.


Happy Thanksgiving!


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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.


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