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.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop




You never know what you might mean to someone.


In order to participate in the Bead Soup Blog Party, you need to have a blog.  My friend Marianna emailed me, excited about the party but needed help to build a blog.  No problem.  We talked about what she wanted and I made it for her, and she started blogging.


The Bead Soup Blog Party came and went but Marianna hadn't signed up.  I'd sent her a few emails to see how she was but there wasn't a response.  Then one day, her daughter emailed me to let me know Marianna had suddenly passed away.



That news just took the breath out of me.  I miss her emails and constant cheerfulness.


Then a few days ago, I got a box in the mail from her daughter.  I knew the box was coming, and that it had something in it from Marianna that she hadn't had a chance to mail before her death.  What I DIDN'T expect was for each bead to be individually wrapped with Marianna's personal messages attached to each one, and a card that told me how she valued my friendship.


I can't let that go.


This blog hop is both for Marianna and for those people in our lives who mean a lot to us -- a mom, a friend, a brother -- anyone who has meaning to us.  Create a piece of jewelry that tells that story.


For instance, Marianna loved red and cardinals, so if you would like to make something in honor of her, you could use red, or you could use beads of birds, leaves, trees, nests, eggs -- things like that.  If you have a friend you want to remember and thank and she's a painter, you could make a necklace full of the colors she often uses in her paintings.



Sign ups are officially closed, but I can still accept people if you email me your name and blog by clicking here.

Grab the blog button from above and link to this page.  (Right click and save the button to your computer, then use the Photo Gadget in Blogger, and enter this page's html link in the line for html.  Free to resize the button as needed).

(This blog hop does not occur until January 12th, but with the holidays, I wanted to post the sign ups now).


But don't wait until January 12th to thank a person who means a lot to you.  Thank them today!  And if they, like Marianna, have passed to a new place, write them a note, anyway.  Keep it, and open it to remember there are people in your life who touch it and make it better.



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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 12, 2012

Randomness and Nothingness


** I love this photo of Zack's marble run.  What I like about it is we can put it together a ton of different ways but sometimes, no matter how well you set that thing up, you've got a marble running across the floor under the couch.  Metaphor for my life (said with a laugh as I get on my knees to look for my marbles).


** I read two entire books this weekend -- "Elsewhere" by Richard Russo and "The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days" by Ian Frazier.  Entirely different!  That's what happens when I hit the library.


** My mind just went totally blank for the past twenty minutes.  Was kind of nice, actually.


** Last show of the year is this weekend, in Fairfax, VA.  I'll be so GLAD when it's done.  I always get burned out at the end of the year with jewelry but I think I've been burned out since March.


** Man, I really have nothing to write about today.  Better go back to chasing my marbles.




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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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Window Shop Blog Hop -- Lori Anderson Designs


Of a lot of jewelry bloggers I know, I probably show my jewelry the least, so guess what!  Time to show you my shop.  Right now its shelves are a bit bare but that's a GOOD thing because I have another show that has taken almost all the inventory away.  I hope you'll like what you see and visit me throughout the year!


Here's a snapshot of my main store, www.LoriAnderson.net






And then I have the www.BeadSoupKits.com shop




And hey!  
Next year I'll have a vintage store on Etsy
selling vintage ephemera, books, music, buttons, 
and whatever strikes my fancy.

So stay tuned!


Please visit the other participants:


Jewel School Friends (host)
www.JewelSchoolFriends.com


Fabric of My Life
http://shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com/


A Grateful Artist
http://gratefulartist.blogspot.com/


Libellula Jewelry
http://libellulajewelry.blogspot.com/


Knot Just Macrame

http://www.knotjustmacrame.com


Amazing Designs by Marlene

http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com


Antiquity Travelers
http://antiquitytravelers.blogspot.com/


Spice Box Designs
http://spiceboxdesigns.blogspot.com/


Freestyle Elements
http://freestyleelements.blogspot.com/


Alankarshilpa
http://www.alankarshilpa.blogspot.com


Pretty Things
http://www.prettythingsblog.com/


Lindy's Designs
http://lindysdesigns.blogspot.com/


The Adventures of Belle West
http://bellewest925.blogspot.com/



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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 09, 2012

Cup of Bead Soup with Bead Happily Ever After


Some people may turn up their nose at vintage acrylic and Lucite beads, but you don't know what you're missing!!!!


First, the difference between Lucite and acrylic.  Lucite is carved from a rod of Lucite and has no seams.  Acrylic is pressed in a mold like some glasses and therefore DOES have a seam.  Both are lightweight and often come in creative finishes and styles you can't get in glass.  So many people think vintage is all about rhinestones and things like that.  Don't get me wrong, I love that, but these beads are accessible and wearable and COOL.


I'm thrilled to bring to you a new Cup of Bead Soup with Bead Happily Ever After.    Crystal graciously donated five identical kits, one for me and the others for four other jewelry designers, and today we show you what we did!


First, I'll show you my finished piece -- a long necklace that features a bit of all of the beads provided, and then I'll break down WHY I did what I did.




And another shot.  Here you can see how I made a loop with a bead accent and a bead dangle in the large black and gold ring.  My original plan was for that fancy lobster claw to hook directly into the black ring but it wouldn't fit.  I'm actually glad it worked out this way, because I think the balance of large/small/large at the clasp looks good.



The finish on nearly all of the beads was bright gold, so I decided to use jeweler's bronze and not patina it.   Almost all of the beads had some sort of pattern on them but some of the turquoise beads didn't.   Therefore, I took that as an opportunity to wrap 14ga bronze around the bead.  Let me tell you -- 14ga bronze is STIFF.  Wear eye protection.  Just sayin'. 




To add even more texture to the necklace (as well as length) I folded a 16" piece of fringy chain from AD/Adornments.  I doubled the chain because when you look at the necklace as a whole, it needed that width and size.  A single strand would have looked out-of-balance.  Next time you're working with a design like this, practice with various strands of chain and see what you think.



Above, you can see the black/turquoise/black bead unit I made.  The turquoise bead had large holes, and I wasn't satisfied with how it looked sitting directly on the black and gold beads.  I took three gold jump rings and made a love knot.  To make one, close one jump ring.  Open a jump ring and thread it through the closed jump ring and close it.  Then take the third open jump ring and string it through BOTH the closed jump rings.  If you did it right, you won't have a 3-ring piece of chain, but a little knot spacer.


Want a free eBook on making some simple chain maille pieces, including this knot?  Click here to get your copy from Jewelry Making Daily!



The photo above shows how I dealt with the beads with the largest holes.  Whenever I string lampwork or ceramic beads, I fill the holes with seed beads so the larger beads won't wobble on the wire or thread.  I have several tubes of various sizes so something is bound to work.  No seed beads?  Wrap thin-gauge craft wire around the base wire the bead sits upon to make it thicker.


For the purple beads, I wrapped 14ga bronze around the end of bail making pliers.  Why those pliers? So the coils would all be the same size and not start looking like a cone as the wire headed towards the end of regular round nose pliers.  Doing this gave visual interest but it also effectively blocked the large hole.


This piece is a perfect example of using Bead Soup.  I made all the bead units first, and then started moving them around so I didn't end up with all the large beads on one side or all of one color stacked in the same way.  And using a decorative clasp makes the necklace versatile, as it's an integral part of the piece and can be worn in any orientation.



And a big thank you 
to Crystal of Bead Happily Ever After!


This is the last Cup of Bead Soup for 2012.
BIG things in store for 2013 with all new designers!

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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 08, 2012

Where Lao Tzu and I Battle Depression

Recently, a well-meaning person said this quote reminded them of me, and that they rarely see me at peace, enjoying my life, and they wish I could.

Oh, Lao Tzu. 


Now, at first glance, this sounds like sound advice.  In fact, it looks like some of the things I've posted both here and on Facebook in the past.  I love posting the great quotations and sayings I find.  I'm going to post one right now, in fact.



However, to me, the above Lao Tzu quote, (and a lot of others, actually) is a just a t-shirt-ready platitude.  It sounds good, but without context to the person you're talking to, it has no meaning.  Maybe it works for those who are centered and grounded and in touch with their inner self and have a ton of inner peace, but for lots of us, this saying is frustrating for this very simple reason:

Lao Tzu doesn't know me.  He's not my buddy.  He doesn't know my life.


Don't get me wrong.  This person was well-meaning and as I said, it sounds great, and actually HAVING a friend like Lao Tzu would be incredible.  But it's just not that simple.  I write a ton of stuff about my life on this blog but you don't know the half of it.  Not nearly. 


I take my main issue with the first line... "If you are depressed you're living in the past."


Our past shapes us.  It doesn't have to DEFINE us, but it absolutely shapes us.  To say it doesn't is to fool yourself.



And why is the past such a bad thing to think on, either the good parts OR the bad parts?  As I write my memoirs, I've had to delve into both.


For instance:  if my childhood hadn't been so horrific, I would never have chosen to leave my home town to a career in the military.  If I'd never joined the military, I never would have experienced some of the best AND worst times of my life.  If I'd never joined the military, I never would have met wonderful friends AND my husband.  If I never remembered my past as a lonely child, I would never have worked so hard to be a good mother and an empathetic, ready friend.


Friends in Korea (my first tour).  I'm the one in the middle.


Friends in Korea (my 2nd visit)

I'm not in my currently depressed state totally because of my past.  YES my past has not always been happy.  But holy heck has it also been full of richness!  So it's pretty glib to say a person is depressed because they're living in their past.  


Now the second part:  "If you are anxious, you are living in the future."


Wait.  What is so wrong with being anxious about your future?  I mean, there's anxious that's concerned and curious, and there's Xanax anxious.  Writing business plans means you are anxious about doing well in your future.  That's not a bad anxious.  Being concerned about where your career is going is not a bad thing unless you just sit and STAY anxious and don't make the steps, no matter how microscopic, to get to where you want to go.


Changing direction is also not a bad thing unless you do it fifty million times in a year (you get my drift).  If you are so anxious you feel paralyzed to do anything or so concerned about the future you can't function, then yes, there's a problem.  But Lao Tzu is missing some stuff, or else he really, really had his mellow on allllll theeeeeee timmmmmmme.  And I have my mellow time!  Bed + book, or car + trip to book store.  Or kidlet + card games.  Or husband + chatting.


Bed + book

Car + book store


You see where I'm going here, I'm sure.  I'm pretty much good with my future.  There are so many things I'm interested in and like to do that if one flops, there are all those others.  I'm good with that.


And now the last part:  "If you are at peace, you are living in the present."


Um.  This week we had Election Day in the USA.  Are you at peace?  Probably half of you aren't at all at peace.  Was your husband late for dinner, your kids screaming about doing homework, your cat barfing up a hair ball, your hair a total mess, your best dress ripped?????  Not peaceful.


So what is peace, and what is it this person wants me to find?


They apparently don't read about my time with Zack.  Or my love of my husband.  Or my attempts to cheer others up.  They probably don't know that I visit the book store every week and physically relax the second I walk in the door.  They probably don't know I look forward to every single night because my husband and I talk and hold hands before we go to sleep.  They also don't know my dreams, or my plans.  Meant well, but... I'm picking either answer C) Does Not Apply or better yet, answer D) Not Enough Information for this one. 



The best thing I've ever made is also my biggest treasure and source of happiness.


I realize, as I'm not stupid, that many of my blog and Facebook posts recently have had a more maudlin tint.  Well hey.  People have died, tragedies have struck, I've got some pretty intense physical pain, and when things go wrong on a MAJOR scale, there's that thing called the straw that broke the camel's back.  And you know what?  No one is happy all the time.  I'm in the depths of depression right now.   Not the first visit and probably won't be the last.   But I've got help and care and I am not ashamed of that.


Ironically, being depressed does NOT mean I'm not enjoying my life --it's just a little harder to.  I dare you to find one person who enjoys their life 100% of the time, 24/7, happy happy joy joy.  You will not find that person.  It's NORMAL to have strife and roller coasters and craziness AS WELL AS happiness and hugs and kisses.  Those who have dealt with severe clinical depression know that these straws on the camel's back can feel like a hay bale. 




But this simplistic Lao Tzu quote was a bit much.  It begged, no, DEMANDED to be thought about and put into perspective, as ANY platitude should.  Shoot, those ubiquitous "Stay Calm and Carry On" posters are GREAT, but tell that to the woman juggling a screaming baby who just locked her keys in the car.  She's liable to slap the tar out of you.


Why did I write this?


I realized that while these quotes, be they pithy, funny, wise, or otherwise, can be full of meaning, but just throwing it out there often isn't enough.  People need understanding and empathy and friendship, too.  

Friends from my 2nd year in the military.  We were all very different, but we were all there for each other. 

I'm also here to tell you I'm not an every-day-is-positive-if-you-just-find-the-positive-in-it kind of person.  Real life doesn't work that way.  I DO believe that I can try to reach for that positive in every day, but I am no longer going to give myself a hard time if I miss.


I am so lucky to have this blog.  I'm so very lucky to have my readers.  I know that this subject doesn't mesh with some, but I write about all kinds of things day to day.  One day it's about jewelry, one day it's about needing monkeys for a particular project.  You just never know.  I'm pretty much an open book, and while you may scan some pages, I hope you'll stick a bookmark in others.


And that, basically, is that.





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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.