Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The 5th Bead Soup Party Map

The 4th Bead Soup Blog Party had over 350 participants.  This year, I decided to keep the number to 200.  The summer hop, however, all will be accepted, and the hop will be staggered over time so people can get to all the blogs.

However -- 200 people still makes for an impressive map!  Click on it to see it enlarged.

There are 16 countries (including some new ones, like Bahrain) and 41 states represented.  The participants are from all types of beading styles -- metal, lampwork, stringing, beadweaving, etc. -- and I think only one package may have been waylaid (which is a record).

Please join us on Saturday to see what these talented people made with the beads they received!

Don't forget the Cup of Bead Soup lottery!  Click here.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

The Winners of the Seed Beads and Bead Soup are....

The seed beads go to Jean A. Wells

and the red pressed glass goes to Pine Ridge Treasures.

and never fear, 
there are going to be more giveaways soon!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Bead Soup is Cooking!

We've finally reached the week of the 5th Bead Soup Blog Party!  This year the group was limited to 200 people (next time, everyone will be accepted and the hop will be staggered over several weeks) -- but still, that's a lot of burners on the stove blasting at high!

I'm always amazed at the number of people who sign up.  Last night I expressed my fear to my husband of the day when the blog hop was no longer interesting.  He said he didn't think that would happen.  I sincerely hope he's right.

To that end, would you comment about why you like the party?  What draws you to it?  And what have you learned from it, if anything?

See you on Saturday at the Party!

Don't forget the giveaway -- click here.
Don't forget the Cup of Bead Soup lottery -- click here 


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Announcing the NEW Cup of Bead Soup -- it's interactive!

This has been in the planning for MONTHS 
and I'm excited to finally start!

If you've been a follower of my blog, you're familiar with my Cup of Bead Soup project.  For the past year, I've purchased beads, sight unseen, from various bead makers and tasked myself with creating things with components I didn't choose myself.  It's been a fantastic way to push my design skills and break out of making the same old/same old.  In essence, it's a one-woman-production of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Now it's your turn to join me!

Three lucky people will be chosen at random,
and these three designers will receive the same kit I do.

The four of us will then create a piece of jewelry and have a mini-blog hop to show what four people can do with the exact same beads.  After the blog hop, the bead artist will have a limited number of kits for sale.

So let's start!!!

The photos you're looking at are for the March Cup of Bead Soup.  Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf and Floridity is well known for her amazing handmade polymer clay beads, charms, and pendants.  I really love her work (the heart pendant in my blog header is made by her as well!).

This kit will contain:

* one teal rustic key focal bead
* one double-sided pair of leaf charms
* four carved nugget beads
* one limited edition 5x7 Bead Soup print!

Cost is $20.

(Sixteen limited edition kits will be available after the hop for $35).

To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment 
and a way to contact you if you don't have your email in your profile.

Comments will close on Monday, March 5th.

Mini-hop will be April 7th.

More Cups of Bead Soup will occur monthly!

(Cut and paste this button into your blog if you like!)


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

7000 Bracelets of Hope Blog Hop -- and a giveaway!

This is my second year participating in the 7000 Bracelets of Hope through the Global Genes project.  The purpose is to create a blue bracelet to send to a family who has a child suffering from a rare disease, disorder, or condition.  Why blue?  Genes, jeans, get it? 

I love dangles on bracelets, so I gathered some large oval links and started adding lots of blue beads in Czech glass from Preciosa Ornela (and stay tuned because I'm giving away a ton of their beads at the bottom of this post!)

Since I don't know the wrist size of the person the bracelet will end up with, I used a decorative lobster claw clasp with a chain extender.  Love my toggles, but having a cool lobster claw works, too!/

If you would like to send a bracelet, click here for the information!

The other blog hop participants:

And now to the giveaway!

A while back, the Czechoslovakian company Preciosa Ornela contacted me to see if I'd like to review their beads.  I LOVE Czech glass!  The company sent me a hugely generous package of beads -- two "bead soup" packages of pressed glass and glass pearls and a LOT of seed beads, including their unique two-hole seed beads called PRECIOSA Twin.

The beads have a gorgeous luster, whether they're matte, opaque, or translucent.  I'll have a design made with some of the Preciosa Twin beads soon!

You can find Preciosa Orenela at Facebook, Twitter, or their web site. They have LOTS of tutorials for you, too!

Here's what I'm giving away (and yes, international commenters are welcome!)

To one person, a huge portion of red Preciosa pressed glass beads.

To another person, a large assortment of various sizes of seed beads.

The giveaway sign ups are now over -- thanks for playing and stay tuned for more giveaways!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Winners for "You Supply the Caption"

Before I announce the winners, here's the story behind this car.

When Zack was four, we went on a nature hike in the Tuckahoe State Park.  La dee dah dee dah, here we go walking through the woods, when I look to my left.  What the what?   Over the side of the path, in a shallow ravine, lay this car.

I was flummoxed.  We were on a NATURE TRAIL.  No road in sight.  It's like it dropped down from the sky.

We were with a school group, and wouldn't you know it, I didn't have my camera.  When we got the kids back to the bus, I asked the driver to PLEASE wait so I could take a picture.  I ran, huffed, and puffed as fast as I could back to the ravine and shot a few quick shots.  It's one of my favorite things in my "Abandoned" Flickr set.

And now for the winners -- yes, multiple!  I asked Zack to help me pick the best and we just couldn't stop laughing.  So here are the winners and what they captioned this photo with:

"when do you think insurance is gonna pay the claim for this?"

"Your Mileage May Vary"

and my very favorite:

"On Craig's List: Great car, low mileage, unique paint treatment, gently used. 
OOAK, cash only, GPS coordinates for viewing upon request. "

Thanks for playing!   I think I'll be doing this sort of post more often!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Barbara Lewis' Give Away -- Enamel eCourse

Barbara Lewis is giving away one of her Torch Fire Enameling eCourses!  If you've always wanted to try torch-fire enameling but were afraid to try, let me tell you, it's not that hard.  Unless you're like me, and tend to pick up beads that have fallen off your mandrel and you know good and DARNED well they're hot as Hades but no, you touch them anyway because perhaps the laws of physics and chemistry don't apply to you.

ANYWAY!  Click here to enter now!

And don't forget to visit my "you supply the caption" contest for a mystery prize.  I'll announce winners on Friday afternoon.



Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- you supply the caption!

photo take by me

Leave your caption in the comments section!

(Mystery prize for the best comment!)

 Books:  Three Book Reviews


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pain Versus Creativity

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(Photo taken by me on the way to my Dad's house.  I've always called these 
"God Lights" because when I see them, I think it's God's way of saying, "I'm here".)

As you've probably noticed, I share a lot of personal stuff on my blog.   (No, really?) Some people like these sorts of posts, and some prefer the ones sharing pretty things I've found online, while some enjoy the jewelry photos, whenever I remember to put those online.  I've got an eclectic blog, which suits me perfectly.

One reason I write as I do is because words have always been a safe haven for me; first by escaping into books, and then by putting words to paper, and now, the computer screen.  

The difference between paper and screen is huge -- it's inviting someone to read my diary instead of hiding it under the mattress and giving up complete control over who sees it and reads it.   I decided a long time ago I was OK with that because if any of my posts are meaningful to even just one person, it's worth it.  It also makes my heart feel better shooting words out into space, freeing my spirit a bit. 

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(Zack's cars, which he often carefully lines up to fill an entire room.)

For the past three years, I've felt like I'm getting nowhere fast.  Can't get into gear.  Have a hitch in my get-along.  I've been sapped of creativity and drained of energy.  And all of this has made me angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, back to sad, more angry, and now -- accepting.

I've written a number of times about feeling inferior to others, etc, etc, ad nauseum,  but I finally think I've figured out the root of all those feelings.  It's normal to find and know your place in the hierarchy of things -- I mean, not everyone can be an Einstein or a Mozart or a Dickens.  I've been grousing for a long time about feelings of inadequacy, but was still getting nowhere fast in overcoming or even understanding those feelings.  But now I think I know what's been going on with my battle against perceived shortcomings.

I think the heart of the matter is physical pain.

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(Photo taken by me.  It looks soothing, but at the same time, it strangely translates how I feel about pain ... the never-ending stream of it, and trying to turn it from a fierce flow of anger to a soothing stream of soul-clearing peace.)

All my life I've battled migraines.  I remember having my first one at six years old, going to the nurse's office in Kindergarten to be helped onto a cot in a dark room.  But they really hit me with a vengeance about three years ago, and a double diagnosis of psuedotumor cerebri (presenting as bad headaches in the eyes) and atypical migraines, neither of which was affected by pain medication, rendered me useless.  I felt like crap, to put it plainly, yet no one who saw me would know I was in debilitating pain because it was invisible.  Invisible pain made me feel like an invisible person -- hiding out in a dark room, being deprived of all the things I love to do. 

This past month, my migraines disappeared but irony of ironies, my stomach started hurting.  I now know it's a faulty gall bladder valve, but the pain is at times excruciating and I still have to fight the Battle of Insurance Company Regulations, taking this test and then that test before they'll let a doctor just take the darned thing out.

(At least I have insurance, however faulty it may be.  I do recognize this, having lived without it before.)

Yesterday, after getting a shot of Lidocaine between my ribs to stop muscle spasms caused by my body tensing up in the sight of pain, I had the sudden realization that my angst of the past few years has really been my anger and frustration at being sick, being in pain, and feeling helpless about doing anything about it.  It isn't necessarily that I lack creativity -- how can someone be creative when they can hardly see or sit up straight?  And it isn't so much about a lot of the things I've blamed as my road blocks.  

It's been about trying to cope with pain.

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(A tree choked by ivy near my house.  Beauty in the midst of slow destruction.)

I feel like this tree now.  My physical body may often be wracked by pain that no one sees, but as with virtually everything, there's beauty to be found everywhere.  Instead of allowing my quality of life to head south, I'm going to do my best to find happiness in the smallest of accomplishments.   

I'm going to find solace in knowing that I AM doing the best I can, and in order for things to get better, I really do have to be gentler on myself.

So.  Sounds easy, but it's not, and this post serves as a reminder to me that rarely is an entire lifetime perfect, but moments certainly can be.  It may be a long time between moments, to be sure, but that will have to be OK.  I will have to make peace with the pain in order to find peace in my total life.

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("Peace" bead by Diane Hawkey in a necklace I made.)

All of this brings me back to why I write about such personal things.  I do talk to friends and my husband about my feelings, but I also know there are people out there battling much worse things than I am who might want to know how someone else feels about similar things.  Like I said, if this post means anything or helps just one person, that's awesome.  I love it when people email me with links to inspiring blog posts, or share with me their similar situations.  The huge world of the Internet becomes so small when it can shift to a one-on-one email conversation.  

Know you're not alone.  Don't be afraid to share your story.  Don't be afraid to hide your story.  Either way, the point is to make your soul more peaceful in whatever way you feel comfortable, and to be gentle with yourself.  Don't turn your anger and frustration at your pain on yourself.  

"Instead of complaining the rose bush has thorns, 
instead be happy the thorn bush has roses." ~~ Proverb

Time to pick some roses.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day with Zack

Everyone here seems to love Zack stories, so rather than show you the amazing candy my husband bought me that I SO. DO. NOT. NEED. (but thank you, honey), I'll show you one of the things I gave Zack.

I actually gave this to him yesterday because once it arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait.  I'm very bad that way about presents -- I can't wait for The Day.  I ordered a punch box from Leafcutter Designs, and wrote out notes.  Then they took my notes, wrote them up, and put them in the box.

These little boxes are so cool. If you look closely, you can see the folded notes under the vellum.  Once you punch through the hole (which goes through to the back) the little folded message comes out.

This was Zack's first message yesterday:

This, of course, thrilled him.

I was expecting a card or board game, which is what we normally play, but no -- he wanted me to play a video game with him.  We haven't done that in ages, it seems, when we would play video racing games together and all I could do was run off the road or hit walls, which was surprisingly amazing fun.

We played a video game called Rayman Origins, which I made him get (yep, MADE him get) because the box looked hilarious.  It's essentially like Mario Brothers but with funnier characters and really cool adventures.  However, I'm no better at that kind of game than driving games.  I only had to worry about three buttons, but of course I completely forgot which was which and just started hitting buttons indiscriminately, head-butting walls instead of enemy flowers, falling down instead of jumping up, and slapping Zack's character instead of the bad balloons.  We laughed so much I hurt.  And today, after he opened his other presents, he said playing the game together was his favorite.

Love that child with all my heart.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Let's Go Shopping -- Etsy Finds

When I don't feel so swell, or am tired, or just creatively tapped out, I go shopping.  For a while it's been sheerly window shopping, and I wanted to share some of what I've found that I love from afar.

 First comes the ultimate dollhouse.  
You MUST click here to see inside.
The interior photos look exactly like a real house.

It's hard to narrow down why I love this so much, since there's so much to love!  One is the pink exterior.  The second is because my dad built my sister and I a dollhouse way back when, and I still have it.  Apparently, he was working on that thing all through Christmas Eve, and it was a total surprise to us.  Right now I have no room for it in the house -- it's HUGE -- but I refuse to give it up.  One day, I'll convert a room into a combination miniature railroad/dollhouse room.  One day!

Next, an amazing bead.

This is made by Flowertown Beads, and she has lots to look at -- not just large-hole beads but sets as well.

This is made by Xanadu 2 You.  Not only does she make these gorgeous bowls, but jewelry, too!

The owl trend continues 
with this cute stamp.

Stampadoodle has a lot of cool metal stamps, most of which I've never seen before.  She also has stamping blanks, so if you've never stamped metal, give it a whirl!

And of course, I'm sure you know how much I love books.
So this print should be no surprise.

Photographer Elle Moss really captured everything about books in this one.  There's a used book store near my town and I spend HOURS in there.  In fact, I'll be opening a vintage store sometime this year with some of the amazing finds I've collected.  

And finally, another bead set,
since of course, one can never have enough beads!

These clever triangle beads are made by Mitosis Glass.  I love the shape and the color is very summery.

I hope you enjoyed your shopping trip with me!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Bead Soup!

Finally, I'm posting my bead soup!  I had tried to put them in collages, but decided each photo really deserved it's own individual shot, so there's lots of pictures in this post!

I have two partners, Marcie Abney and Rebecca Anderson, because par for the course, I messed up and paired two people who had already been pairs in a previous Bead Soup Blog Party.  And their soups couldn't be more different!

Marcie sent me two soups.  One included two handmade seed-beaded focals, two shades of charoite, and some tiny Czech beads.  The toggle is a terrific geometric piece.

A close up of the frame focals, which are one-of-a-kind made for me by Marcie (lucky me!)

I have absolutely no idea how she does these things with little bitty beads.  I've already made a necklace, a bracelet, and earrings, but that last rectangular frame has me a little stumped.  I like that, though, because it's making me dig into recesses of my bead cabinet that haven't been explored in a long time.

She also sent me an earthy mix -- and this throws me off because I'm not an earthy girl at all.  Again -- this is a good thing.  The entire point of the Bead Soup Blog Party is to be pushed creatively.

Isn't that jasper focal to die for?  There's also some very cool copper rings I've never seen before, Elaine Ray diagonal cubes, and Czech glass beads and leaves.  I love that copper toggle, too, because I've not seen it before (love new things!).

(A note about the props.  The horse picture was a drawing I found loose, like a bookmark, in the middle of an old book, and the vase is from a friend who visited Turkey and brought it back to us.)

Next comes the soup from Rebecca.  Rebecca also sent me a couple of gifts.  She knows I devour books like candy, and this particular book is her favorite.  She also sent me a fun pair of button earrings.

Rebecca described her soup as a soup stock she kept adding to.  I love that, because it's how I mix a lot of my Bead Soups.  She included a clever letter with drawings of the beads and descriptions and sources -- very handy!

This is the majority of the soup.  As I mentioned before, I am not an earthy girl, and green falls into that category.  So again -- work cut out for me -- and I relish that.  The silk cord scares me.  I stink at cord and fiber.  But I'm going to give it my best!

How about a closer look?  She said she tried to use all overseas sources, so click their links to buy your own!

Potential clasps -- a leaf hook, a copper toggle, and a ceramic button.

OMG, the birds.  Love the birds.  
Some may have to fly over to Marcie's earthy mix.
I know you can get these from Ornamentea in various metals.

A lovely handmade glass focal by SowZere Beads.
And can I just say how much I love Moogin Mindy's bead pair? 
I recently got some beads from her and I'm hoarding them.
In the back is a square lampwork bead that is SO COOL by Helen Jewellery.
And then the awesome copper leaves.

A better shot of the square lampwork bead, 

OK.  Does it surprise anyone that Zack stole these?
I have to hunt them down now.
They're adorable baby shoes, aren't they?

And lastly, the beads that didn't fit in the first photo.  
Lots of Czech glass and other pretties.

Did these ladies spoil me?

Heck to the yes.

But they also threw out the challenge, and I hope I can make them proud.
The Bead Soup Party reveal is March 3rd!!!!

Quote of the DayJudging
Book Reviews:  Lots!!!!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.