Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tutorial in BeadStyle

The September issue of BeadStyle came out (yes, it's not quite August, but that's how magazines work, apparently!) and I have a tutorial in it. I'd actually forgotten about it until the check came in the mail, because I sent the necklace in a looooong time ago.

The story behind the necklace -- none of the beads were supposed to be put into ONE project. I bought them at a local bead store, and was filling up little baggies of this and that, and when I got home, I up-ended my shopping bag on the table and lo and behold, the colors just looked terrific together. Totally not what I had planned, but so much better than what I had planned.

The photo in the magazine is a little dark, so here's another for you:

The chain is copper, and the glass is all Czech (with some yellow Japanese miracle beads tossed in) -- purples and yellow and peach and bronze. I loved how the colors came together, and I love the texture, and cha-cha necklaces (and bracelets!) are my favorite anyway.

"Accidental Artist" will be on the web site soon, but if you can't wait, just shoot me an email!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've been experimenting with photography -- not just with my jewelry, but with random things. I've been carting my camera around and stopping to snap things when I find something cool.

I was wasting some time the other day and took a side road and found this incredible abandoned church. Utterly amazing. I have to go back with different light and get a front shot, but I did manage to get some cool ones.

I also found a weather-worn barn:

Now, I have a LOT to learn about this manner of photography, but it's fun, and it's making me look at things with a different eye. Trying to look at the part rather than the whole is against the norm, and I'm thinking this will only help my creativity, and perhaps push me into realms I haven't yet dreamed of.

You can view the entire photostream on my Flickr account by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One For Me, One For You

I have an article on Watch Me Create about making a necklace for my own jewelry box, and how I adapted what I had left to make one for you! The article is here, and the necklace that is for sale is here.

For more pretty handmade jewelry, visit

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Following the Beads

Most of the time I know exactly what I want to make when I sit down at my table. When I go to buy beads, a picture of the finished piece jumps into my head. They just speak to me that way.
Sometimes, though, the little critters just decide to do something on their own.

I sat down with a bunch of bright lampwork beads, and immediately, two scampered off to become earrings…

OK, fine!

So on to what I’d originally planned. I wanted to make a necklace with bits of turquoise, pewter, and Swarovski crystal. I didn’t want the beads to match each other on both sides of the necklace, and likewise didn’t want the crystals to be matched in any particular order. I was going to keep symmetry the same, but the beads would each have different patterns.

I also wanted some texture, so decided to add some charms here and there…..

And then, it happened again.

The bead that I’d set aside to be the focal decided it didn’t want to be in the strung necklace with everyone else, but wanted to be a pendant. I blame it on the leftover charm I had.

OK, I can roll with that. Pendant it is.

When everything was finished, I ended up with something a bit different than I’d planned, but infinitely better. The charms weren’t planned. The pendant wasn’t planned. Those two beads that hopped out to become earrings made my necklace shorter — I’d wanted a long necklace, no pendant, with charms here and there in a willy-nilly fashion. What I ended up with is this:

And I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes it pays to listen and follow those beads’ intentions.

You can see more of my work at and

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Some new necklaces for your viewing pleasure!

"Center Stage" is made with handmade lampwork glass, turquoise, and bits of silver.

"Dragon" is made with unique dragonscale agate.

"Guacamole Salad" is made with handmade lampwork glass and handmade aluminum chain -- this is a version of a necklace I made for myself.

I'm the happiest with this one, because when I got the big red beads in the mail, I thought, "Oh man, I goofed, these are way bigger than I'd planned for". But the necklace came out stunning! It's made with Tibetan copal and turquoise.

If you'd like any of these, email me -- they're not on the web site as of today. And of course, visit to see more pretties!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Studio~

If you're interested in taking a tour of my studio, you can do that by clicking here to visit Collective Creatives! You'll also find a number of interesting articles about the creative process by various artists -- enjoy!

Visit my web site,, to see what I make in my studio!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I've read a few books just in the past few days, and thought I'd give a quick synopsis. If you click on the titles, you'll get my full review on

My Sister, My Love, by Joyce Carol Oates

I've enjoyed several of Oates' books in the past so quickly picked this one up. It's a long book, and there's something pretty awesome about having that many pages to read. It's loosely, and fictionally, based on the JonBenet Ramsey story -- a young ice-skating prodigy that gets all the attention and the "extra" son, who tells the story. If you thought your family was dysfunctional, well... A good read, and recommended.

The Last Town on Earth, by Thomas Mullen

This one is about the horrible Spanish flu epidemic during WWI. I've read two non-fiction accounts of this flu, and am astonished that it killed as many as 100 million people in one year -- and ultimately would kill five times as many Americans than WWI -- yet the flu hardly gets a mention in textbooks.

The book is historical fiction, about a small logging town that quarantines itself during the epidemic to keep the flu out. It's the author's first novel, and I was impressed.

1434 -- The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance by Gavin Menzies

I goofed on this one, thinking it was historical fiction along the lines of Shogun, which I loved. Instead, it's non-fiction, and shows how a great deal of the European Renaissance was influenced, and in many aspects, copied, from the Chinese. There are a lot of heated debates online about whether Menzies' proof holds up, but I found a lot of it compelling.

So there are the three books I finished this week! If you have any recommendations, please post a comment!

And if you want to see what I do when I'm not reading, check out for beautiful (if I may say so) hand-crafted jewelry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Abandoned Buildings

I discovered an incredible site today -- -- full of amazing photographs of abandoned "urban ruins". Per the web site, "This site is dedicated to documenting various abandoned places through both text and photographs; recording their transformations through time before they are demolished". Tom Kirsch explores these ruins, sometimes with permission, sometimes, um, not, and captures the most amazing photographs.

This is the kind of photography that I love. I love old things, things with mystery and curiousity about them. I'm fascinated by his work.

Take some time and visit his site!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beading with Kids

Today I had a fun crafty day -- I'd been hired by a law firm to be part of their entertainment at a company picnic, teaching kids how to bead. This was a very cool picnic, with pony rides, cotton candy machines, a pool, a bounce house, paint-your-own-pottery, and then me. I had bowls and bowls of fun beads for various age groups, and we went to town! A number of the moms joined in, proving that YES, beading is addictive, no matter if you're using inexpensive plastic or mega-expensive gemstones.

When I got home, a box from Target had arrived. I'd been eyeing these VERY cool pop-beads at Target, but kept putting off buying them. Then when I saw my friend Kerry's post about the beads, I decided, enough's enough, let's go get 'em. But of course, Target was out. So I ordered them.

ANYWAY, Zack fell in love with them, as I knew he would. I swear, he's going to be my business partner before too long -- he has a love for anything crafty and has a good eye.

Here are some of his creations -- I love the Dr. Seuss vibe:

See how happy he looks?

We had too much fun. Life is great with a cool kid.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Book Review -- The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle: A Memoir The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls


rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a memoir of a family, and how the children grow up in abject poverty (self-imposed by the parents) and how they turn out. Think "Angela's Ashes" in Appalachia.

I'm in awe of these kids. The author ends up graduating from an Ivy League school, on her own merit, while her parents decide, CHOOSE, to be homeless. Her alcoholic father is nothing short of brilliant, which made me sad for his wasting his life. He probably wouldn't have looked at it as a waste at all, though, because he was happy and loved.

There were so many things I read that boggled my mind. Growing up with no running water, no indoor plumbing, rain in the bedroom so bad that her brother slept under an inflatable raft -- yet they laughed, loved, and survived. I couldn't have done it.

The book was funny, sad, poignant, heroic. The family was completely dysfunctional, but there was a lot of love and humor there as well.

Absolutely put this on your must-read list.

View all my reviews.

Twinkies and HobNobs

A few weeks ago, I joined a conversation on a forum I frequent about what foods we missed when we moved between certain countries. HobNobs came up frequently.

I was introduced to the oatmeal chocolate goodness that is a HobNob cookie ('scuse me. Biscuit.) when I was going to college. One of my friends had a British boyfriend and he sent her an entire case of them. Joy reigned in that apartment for some time.

Anyway, one of the British ladies on the forum said that her boyfriend had never, ever had a Twinkie. Neither have I, come to think of it. She jokingly said she would send HobNobs for Twinkies if someone would send her some.

I emailed her, asked if she was serious, and we made a swap. I sent her two big boxes of Twinkies:

And she sent me three packets of HobNobs. OOOOOh the joy.

I know that for me, it was well worth the $26 in postage to send Twinkies across the ocean -- I hope she feels the same, because it cost her just as much.
Better than HobNobs, though, was doing something nice for a perfect stranger, and making a new friend out of it.

She is a crafter, too, and has a store on Etsy -- she paints and has some cute things, so click here to visit.

This is fun!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jewelry from the past

Tonight I've been busy deleting a bunch of photos of jewelry that's sold off the web server. I'm waaaaay behind on that, and was seeing things I made and sold over a year ago. I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

The above bracelet is probably one of my favorites ever, which is funny, because I'm not a big fan of yellow at ALL. But this one, I love.

This is one that I sold on Ebay for the Fourth of July.

This one I ended up turning into a necklace for a customer, and she wore it a year later to my show in Ocean City.

This is a favorite because of the colors and the whimsical beads.
Another yellow one, and very cute, in my opinion!

It's fun for me to go back over my designs from a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, and see where I've been and where I've improved. I never get tired of this career path -- I love what I do.

You can see more of my jewelry at or

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Book Review -- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my edition, there was a lengthy essay about Ken Kesey's life, including his time working as a guinea pig for drug experiments and then as a night-shift worker at a mental institute. Reading that gave me good perspective when I started reading the book.

At first I was a little confused, but that quickly ended. The story is at times dark, at times hilarious, and always thought-provoking. I knew where it was headed, and found myself thinking, "NO don't DO that!" because I was so invested in McMurphy. And Nurse Ratched I just wanted to shake. Hard.

If you haven't read this classic, I highly recommend it.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thought For Today

Hugely, hugely, HUGELY busy today (oh wait - it's now after midnight -- ok, yesterday) so I'm just going to post a cool Thought For the Day ....

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."

--- Harry Truman

and a funny one from George Carlin (who I still can't believe is gone) ...

"It's never just a game when you're winning."

Friday, July 04, 2008

From Start to Finish

I just published this on the Watch Me Create blog, and thought I'd share it with you....

I thought I’d show you how I get from a pile of beads to a finished bracelet.
It usually starts with the lampwork beads — I line them up and they just tell me what they want to be. The fun comes in matching crystal colors, finding unique silver to fill in the spaces, and of course, just the right toggle.

This is what my table looks like before I start making a bracelet:

Pink and green, a favorite combination lately. I had to find just the right shade of pink and green to match the lampwork beads — here’s my box of pink Swarovski crystals:

Every color — pink, blue, green, whatever — has a crystal box that looks like this. I have every single color of crystal that Swarovski makes, and pretty much in every single style and size, which initially is wheeeeee, expensive, but having all those colors available at the drop of a hat allows me to just CREATE without having to put on the brakes and go online to order stuff.

Here’s an odd thing about my design environment — I have to have the TV on. My work table is sideways to the TV, so I’m not really watching the program, but it has to be for the noise factor. And it can’t be just anything — it has to be this forensic science/murder thriller stuff that I just love. SpongeBob just doesn’t allow my creative juices to flow, so I don’t do a lot of designing while Zack is awake!

So I turn on the CSI Miami, and go to town. TIVO rocks.

And in a little while, I have something pretty to show for my work:

There you go! That’s what I do. From start to finish.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Jewelry!

I've added a lot of new jewelry to the web site, so please take a look! Here are some things that are waiting their turn, so if you see something you have to have NOW, please email me. I'm always amazed at how many things get snagged off the blog! Thank you!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Wedding Disasters

Google is a funny thing -- I was searching for something completely unrelated to "wedding" or "disaster" but found this HYSTERICAL blog entry. Well, I'm sure it wasn't the least bit funny to the poor bride while it was happening but the way she tells it -- you know she'll win Worst Wedding Story of All Time hands DOWN.

Now you can subscribe to my blog!

Blogger finally has an easy way for you to subscribe to blogs you like -- over on the top right, you'll see the new button for subscribing! You can choose one of several services (Yahoo is the one I use for my favorites). If you get stuck, just email me and I'll help!

Don't miss a thing!