Friday, June 30, 2006

another bead show, and books

Very busy day today! I went to the Timonium Fair Grounds for a bead show, held in two of the convention buildings. I met up with three of my online beading buddies and we had a blast! I found a couple of new suppliers that I am DEFINITELY going to be seeing again at subsequent shows -- really unusual things! I got some emeralds (natural stone, rather than the gemmy ones you see in jewelry stores), opal (ditto), chrysoprase, aquamarines, citrine, carnelian, several very cool types of quartz -- hmm, what else...... just lots of neat stuff. Fortunately, I had a stellar sales day on Thursday, so was able to spend more than I'd planned (always a good thing). So, for this long weekend, I have some fun things to work with!

Books -- 4% Famous is fair. Eh. I just got Augusten Burroughs latest, "Possible Side Effects" and can't wait to start it. And I stopped at Barnes and Noble today and made a list of some classics that I want to read -- "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter", "Siddhartha", and "All Quiet on the Western Front" are just a few. After those heavy-hitters I'll need some more light stuff!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The important things in life

Tonight I had such a flash of what is truly important in life. Zack had been put to bed, but I started hearing him go, "owie owie owie" in a soft voice, nothing frantic, almost like a mantra. I went upstairs and asked him if his tummy hurt. He said, no, his finger, where he was stung by a bee this weekend. He then asked me to cuddle so I crawled into bed with him (the big joy of him being in a big-boy-bed) and we lay face to face, and by the pale light of his star nightlight, he told me the story of his weekend, when he had a bee sting his finger, and Grandma gave him yum-yum (medicine) to make it better, and the dirty dog (Hershey) was drinking out of a puddle, but HE doesn't drink out of puddles, and did I know his finger got stung by a bee? He is so darned cute -- that earnest little face telling me things, and the whole story being this long run-on sentence. He made me laugh out loud a few times. There is nothing quite as wonderful as my little boy.

Photo of Zack by Jen Fariello

Monday, June 26, 2006

First magazine photo!

Very excited -- I got my copy of Step By Step Wire Magazine today, and it has a photo of a necklace I made in the gallery! I made that necklace while working the Ovarian Cancer Rejuvenate III event, in between sessions. I had brought some jump rings with me, and just started fooling around with them, seeing what I could come up with without a pattern, and I came up with that! It's made with Shaggy Loops in mind, but there's not movement -- the chain holds its shape.

I've been updating the web site with some new things -- copper jewelry, furnace glass, random things -- trying not to fall asleep at the computer screen. All weekend I've fought this cold or flu or SOMETHING, and Nyquil and I are on a first name basis. I'm trying to get it knocked out fast so I can keep up with my week, which is already ramping up to be busy. There's another bead show to attend on Friday, this time with a group of friends, and I definitely don't want to miss that!

Oh -- RAIN! Good grief. Zack's wading pool is out on the back porch, and in one night, it completely filled. To the top! Major roads all around us have been closed from flash floods, although I've not personally run into any trouble. So add Nyquil and pouring rain together and you get primo sleeping weather!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Using up beads!

My mission this weekend is to pull out each and every drawer of my bead cabinet and use up some of the random odd bits that I have, and to use things that have been sitting there for a while. Tonight I put together a regal-looking bracelet with 14mm jet Swarovski crystal and Bali silver, and a long, chunky necklace of pink botswana agate and oval chain. I have what seems like a bazillion ideas in my head and sometimes the easiest thing to do is just start pulling things out of drawers and boxes, pile them on the table, and start working with what's in front of me. And sometimes a couple of things will end up lying next to each other that I never would have ordinarily put together, and magic happens.

Zack's last swim lesson for this session is tomorrow. He is such a cute little water bug! He doesn't want to sit and wait his turn on the side of the pool anymore -- he wants IN and he wants to MOVE and he smiles and laughs the entire time. Utterly adorable.

I should finish my book tonight -- picked up another one at the library today, 4% Famous by Deborah Schoeneman. Looks to be a fun read, which will be welcome after the heart-heavy context of this last one.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Quick update

Just a quick update -- fighting a cold or allergies or something -- whatever it is, it's making me sleepy! But I wanted to show you a couple things I made this week. Haven't put them on the web site yet, so if you are interested in them, send me an email.

The first is a necklace I made while sitting in the coffee shop the other day. It's a technique I learned from Stephanie Sersich, who is one of the kindest, most generous people I've had the opportunity to meet. I took a class with her in Wayne, PA a year or so ago and I adapted the bracelet technique to making a necklace with loops on either end to hold a chain. About three hours went into making this -- I started with an empty bowl and started dumping in random beads until I got the color and texture mix I wanted, and then started knotting them all together. I get blisters every time I make one of these, but it's worth it, don't you think?

This one is made from a blown glass bracelet curve set I got from Olive Glass. For the longest time, it sat on my desk, because I just couldn't think of what to do with it to do the glass justice. I finally sat down and used heavy gauge sterling and threaded on a gorgeous Bali silver bead and some Swarovski dangles, and finished it with a handmade clasp. If you like it, let me know and buy it, because I will not be making any more!

Interested in seeing more? Visit

Monday, June 19, 2006

New Book

I am halfway through reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. Oh, man, talk about an intense subject. It's starts in the 1960's, and a doctor and his wife can't make it to the hospital and he delivers their baby in his office. Back then, women were traditionally hit with gas while in labor, so they only have vague recollections of the actual birth. She delivers a healthy son, but the twin daughter is an unexpected surprise, and she has Downs Syndrome.

The father makes a split decision to have his nurse take the baby away to be institutionalized, and in doing so, he hopes he'll save his wife from years of heart ache. Keep in mind, back then, institutionalization was very common, and the thought process back then was that babies with Downs would die soon from heart or other ailments. Completely different support system back then. He tells his wife that the baby girl died.

The nurse can't bear to put the baby in an institution, and ends up running away with it. She occasionally writes the doctor to tell him how she is doing.

I'm only halfway through, but it's a good read, although hard to stomach. When Zack was born, he needed resuscitation, and who knows what could have happened. And we also opted not to have the tests you can take to see if our baby would have Downs or some other ailment. We knew that after all that we'd been through, we would end up with the baby we were supposed to have. I can't even imagine giving him away. But so many people did just that! In my Medical Ethics class in college, we heard of (I use the term loosely) parents who had a baby with Downs. Her esophagus and stomach didn't meet. A simple operation would have fixed it and all would have been fine. But the "parents" didn't want a baby with Downs, and declined medical treatment. This meant the baby was going to slowly starve to death. Again, this was in the '60s. Can you even imagine, being a doctor or a nurse then, having to listen for days to this poor baby cry, and not be allowed to do anything to help?


I can appreciate the immense change your life would take if you have a child with a disability. But wow.

Anyway, the book is quite good, the subject is one that poses a lot of thought, and I guess none of us can say what we'd do if we were in someone else's shoes at any given moment. But I do know that the main theme of the book is regret, and how that changes so many people's lives.

Going to go upstairs and hug my little boy.

(photo of Zack's feet taken by Jen Fariello)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

fun weekend

Great weekend here -- hope you had the same!

Zack finished his first week of swim lessons on Friday -- one more week to go! He absolutely adores the pool and is quite the happy boy when we arrive.

Saturday we went to Rick's company picnic out towards Glen Burnie. REALLY a lot of fun. They had a terrific playground that Zack was all over, and a fishing pier that we spent some time on. We sat by a guy who was reeling in fish as fast as he could throw in the line. They were all small and he was throwing them back, just fishing for sport, but Zack was enthralled, especially when they caught a skate -- it was too heavy for him to reel all the way in, but it was a big one, and Zack was amazed!

Father's Day was nice and quiet and spent at home. Living on the Eastern Shore, summer means major traffic delays with folks heading over the Bay Bridge to the beach, so we try not to go out too far on Friday or Sunday, when the worst of it passes through. Grilled steaks, pulled out Zack's wading pool, relaxed -- very nice.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bead Show Today!

Today I went to Baltimore for a bead show and got some great stuff! I've looked forward to this particular show all year -- I missed it last year so couldn't wait! Here's some of the goodies I got:

These are FACETED pearls. I had always avoided them because the ones I've seen were green or brown and reminded me of snake skin (yuck) but these were too awesome to pass up.

These are amazing, HUGE kyanite nuggets. I've got to say, they're much more beautiful in person because you can see the mica-like flakes and glow. I also liked that these had an organic feel, as some of the rough rock was left in the bead.

These amethyst strands are SUCH a pretty, deep purple. The rounds are a huge 14mm, too!

These two were my splurges. The green is variscite, a relatively rare natural green gemstone. The smoky yellow quartz ovals, you'll have to take my word for how AMAZING they are. They sparkle from across the room, and they're BIG, too.

I also got rhyolite, autumn jasper, silver leaf agate, moukite, white African opal, natural green cat's eye, phrenite, onyx, and coral -- lots of fall colors. I'm thoroughly happy with everything, can't wait to play with it all!

See something you want? Email me at to talk with me about designing your own special piece of jewelry, or check out for artisan beaded jewelry that you can buy now!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You can now subscribe to this blog!

I just added a new feature to my blog -- RSS. RSS, or Rich Site Summary (or Really Simple Syndication, if you prefer), is a way to syndicate news. If you click on the button to the right where it says, "Subscribe", you can choose your RSS reader. I chose to use the Yahoo reader, because I could then send alerts to my email inbox.

If you get stuck, send me an email at -- technology is a wonderful but often confusing thing, isn't it?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Zack's new big boy bed!

Last night we took the rails off Zack's crib and made it into a day bed, to see how he'd do. We've kept him in the crib this long because he doesn't crawl out of it, and likes it, and we kept putting it off, thinking we might be moving to a new house and we could just start there, but we finally decided he needed one.

Well, he rolled out of bed twice last night so this morning Rick did some searching and found the coolest bed for him. Right now he has his crib mattress in it, and that allows for a little race-track at the foot of the bed. When he wants a twin mattress, you take the track out and it converts. And of course we had to get the tool chest dresser, too! Then we got bedding that is from the new movie, "Cars". Just too darned cute! Here's the link if you're interested...

Zack is SO proud of his new set up -- it took him forever to get to sleep tonight. He's all smiles, pointing out all the features. He's too much!

Tomorrow he starts one-on-one swim lessons. He and I have done a number of Mommy and Me water classes, and he's always liked the water, so I hope this goes well.

I'm going to be adding a new link on my web site tomorrow called "As Seen In" -- I'm starting to get some notice from publications so as things come out, I'll put them there. Very exciting!

Way, way past my bedtime....night!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

my latest jewelry box addition

I found Blend Creations completely by accident, and fell in LOVE with their washi paper pendants. I had a huge stash of that kind of paper from back in my card-making days. Anyway, I recently purchased one of the pendants, and then got some fun pearls from my friend Jen and they just matched perfectly! So here it is, the latest addition to my jewelry box:

I didn't want to mess with the beauty of the pendant, so a simple strand of pearls is just right! Now I just need to get one of the navy/purple ones.......

Friday, June 09, 2006

some photos from the past

I was online chatting with a bunch of friends tonight and we started sharing baby photos -- I can't believe how much Zack has grown!

I am so glad I get to stay home with him. I couldn't have missed any of this for the world.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

summer session for Zack and new store

Zack starts summer session of preschool tomorrow, which hinges on his being potty trained, and that varies day to day -- keep your fingers crossed for him (and me).

Tomorrow I also visit a new store that is interested in my jewelry -- they saw me at my last show and bought some things retail but now want to buy wholesale -- mostly the whimsical lampwork.

I'm just exhausted -- early night tonight!

Monday, June 05, 2006

A PSA for you ladies, and a fun waste of 6 minutes

First, my Public Service Announcement for the women out there...get a mammogram! I had my first one today and it was no sweat, took all of five minutes. A lot of doctors are recommending you start getting them at age 35. GET ONE.

The bracelet is one I make for Breast Cancer Awareness -- it would be really nice if one of these days we found a cure. I had a professor at UVA that worked on the BRCA genes -- tumor suppressor genes that, if they work right, help repair damage to DNA, and that helps prevent tumor development. Women that carry mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancers. There's so much that has BEEN discovered, and so much being discovered every day. (Did you know that in a prior life, I studied to go to medical school?)

And now for the six minute waste of time -- if you need a break and want a laugh, check out this video:

I loved it! And I knew all the songs, and most of the dances -- the early 90's were my dancing days! I was overseas in Korea in 89-91 and my friends and I tore UP many a dance floor.... with clubs side by side by side down one street in Songtan, we would hit a new one every 15-30 minutes (I kid you not). Ah, those were the days! :-)

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I started a new book today -- I finished the one library book and had to ransack my bookshelves trying to find something I hadn't already read, and found An Underground Education. It's really proving interesting! The premise is there's more to the things we learn in school than what the text books tell us, and it's full of interesting, little-known facts and trivia. I read the section on The Brother's Grimm -- I already knew that their fairy tales were really pretty gruesome and the Victorian era folks tamed them a little bit, but it was interesting to learn about different versions.

On a similar note, I read An Incomplete Education years ago, and I'd recommend that one, too. The idea with that one is to give you enough knowledge to know a little bit about everything -- the difference between fission and fusion, the difference between Da Vinci and Michaelangelo, a comparison of a bunch of religions, that sort of thing. Neat book.

I'll leave you with a picture of a necklace I made recently for myself with beads from Carrie Hamilton -- I wanted something a little funky to wear and I'd adored the "lollypop" beads of hers forever! This is the first rendition -- I keep thinking of ways to tweak it!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Strawberry Festival

What a wonderful day! This is the third year I've done the St. Michaels Strawberry Festival, and two out of those three years it's rained -- but it never stops the customers. The morning started out iffy, with drizzle and decent gusts of wind, so my friend Kelly and I played "put the tent sides up, put the tent sides down" for an hour or so, but it finally stopped the drizzle and cooled down enough to kill off the humidity.

As always, the patrons of St. Michaels are fabulous, and Kelly and I stayed busy pretty much all day. Met lots of friendly people and got to pet the most ADORABLE bull dog puppy. I can't wait until Zack is old enough to help take care of a dog -- but then again, I want him to stay little forever!

Books -- I'm almost done reading Plum Syke's The Debutante Divorcee -- I was in the mood for some fun chick lit! It's amazing how much about fashion (and New York City) I've learned from the genre of book... The Devil Wears Prada (soon to be a movie with Meryl Streep, I hear!), The Nanny Diaries (also going to be a movie) -- fun reading when I need a break.

Leaving you tonight with some jewelry that will make you ready for summer! You can see more artisan beaded jewelry at

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lightning strikes

What a night last night! Lightning hit our house and a few other houses in our neighborhood. Instantaneous crack and flash, hair stood up on end, smoke detectors all went off -- wild! No fire, fortunately, but we had to reset a lot of electronics, and we lost the DVD, VCR, and tuner in the living room. Fortunately the computer (which was on) didn't get blasted. And it barely woke up Zack, even when the smoke detectors went off. He sat up when Rick went in his room, kind of looked around, and went back to sleep. Good boy!

Tomorrow is the St. Michaels Strawberry Festival, and we're keeping our fingers crossed for decent weather. The past two years, it's rained, but it didn't keep the patrons away. I love these smaller shows, and this one is local to me so I don't have travel costs.

Since all the jewelry is packed, I'm going to work on the book list now! So check back soon!

And I'll leave you with yet more photos of jewelry I'm taking to the show -- visit for more handcrafted beaded jewelry!