Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Cooking in Bead Soup Land?

The Bead Soup Blog Party will take place Saturday, May 3rd, and I am finally getting some of my pieces made.  FINALLY!  I've been flat on my back for almost forever, it seems, and in fact, one piece I made in bed, flat on my back!   To give you a hint of what I used, take a look at the bead soup I mixed up.....

Very summery, right?  That round green beads you see perched in the middle is from one of my partner's soup contributions, and the rest is a mix I literally threw together.  Too much green?  Add some blue.  How about ANOTHER shade of blue?  And some fruit... yeah, fruit.  There are some lemons and pears in there, and a lime, see?

I'll be showcasing my two partners soon!  In the meantime, I'm hustling to get things done and photographed.  I take all of my pictures now with natural light, so I keep an eye on the weather forecast the week before the party.  If you're a participant in the blog hop, keep that in mind!  

I'm so proud of this event, now in its 8th iteration.  I think this may be it for a while, though.  It's grown so large (nearly 500 people this time, 500 some last time) that the logistics of pairing partners is astonishingly difficult.  I have a couple of other ideas up my sleeve, and you'll probably see a variation of the BSBP next year, but it won't involve swapping.  I think a year off to freshen it up and take a rest will do me some good, and allow for some other fun things to take place.

This is a map of last year's party.  This year's party looks pretty much the same.  Only two states didn't have any participants, and the international reach was huge.

That map takes HOURS to pin, with my husband calling out zip codes to me for the US and then the two of us relying on our knowledge of geography to find the cities for the other countries, so this year, I'm going to say, "refer to last year's map".  I have a pie chart instead (PIE!) and I'll list out the countries.

OK!  Thank you for reading!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Etsy Finds! The Bead Addition

I haven't done an Etsy finds in FOR-EV-ER.  I'm  long overdue!  Hope this introduces you to some cool new artists!

This artist makes these beautiful handmade lampwork glass cones in all sorts of color combinations!  You can find her at Chestnut Ridge Designs.

Pretty and unusual ceramic beads by Shaterra

Incredibly cool crimps by Eden Art Glass

Amazing glass pendant by Koy Glass (I need this.)

Copper components by Kristi Bowman.

I could go on and on, but this should whet your appetite!

Happy shopping!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Fever Blog Hop


I was soooo excited to be chosen to participate in this blog hop.

I mean, look at the kits they were sending out!

And my inner greedy girl went...

And believe me, when I got my kit, I was stoked.  
They were so pretty.


Unfortunately, since receiving them and today, my brain has been in a fog and I do NOT know what happened to my creative muse or my writing muse because they most certainly are not with me right now.  I regretfully had to bow out at the last minute, which I NEVER do, but I just couldn't do anything at all.  I mean, even watching TV was too much effort.  Seriously.  

However, I am going to team up with one of the other ladies who couldn't make it and we'll show you our designs at a later time.  In the meantime, won't you take a look at what the others made? They're AMAZING.

Erin Prais – Hintz –

Stay tuned -- hopefully I'll be back soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Strongest Drug

I love this, and it's true for me, anyway.  Why not contact a friend today, just because?  <3

By Golly Bard

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Plot Twist !!!!!!

Thanks for the comments on my last post.  I shared the beginning of that saga in my Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe and the outpouring of love, concern, and shared stories was epic.  When I wonder if I say the wrong thing or share too much and turn people off, I read emails that make me know it was OK.  I want to make a difference and I'm looking forward to when it's about much more cheerful subjects!

I love plot twists in books (and boy do I ever love books!) so why not embrace them in real life?  I know, right?  What an awesome idea!

I turned 45 last Saturday, and when I look back over those years, I'm amazed at all the plot twists and character changes and set designs.  When I was living through some of my darkest days, I had no idea they would lead to enormous awesomeness.  Sometimes I wish there were a fast forward button to get past the scary parts, but the scary parts are what make me able to walk into dark basements without a flash light now.

And that is pretty darned double awesome.

I keep thinking back to books.  I hold one and don't have any idea what lies in store.  Not being able to figure out the ending actually makes for a great book, in my opinion.  Enjoy the story.  Laugh, cry, but read the story.  And likewise, live the life you were given. Learning to let go and just live has been hard for me, but I'm getting nowhere fighting myself.  Chill, honey. Ride it out and enjoy the scenery.

I am lucky.

My story isn't over, and I'm sure it has a happy ending.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Overcoming Morphine

(A bit long and intense, but my next posts will be fun and bead-friendly, I promise.)

If you're new to my blog, it won't take much scrolling through back posts to discover I've had some rough years.  Migraines, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, misdiagnosed with lupus, CORRECTLY diagnosed with Lyme disease plus its many evil friends ... yup.  Not been a good couple of years on the health front.

If you're a long-time reader, you already know that I bare my soul here.  Today's post is very personal and potentially controversial, but I know there are people out there in the same boat, and now that this particular boat of mine has finished its journey and safely docked, I want to share my story.

For the longest time, my only real pain issue was chronic, frequent migraines.  I've tried practically everything on the market, had spinal taps, nerve blocks, the whole nine yards.  I didn't take pain medication because nothing helped.  I just slap an ice pack (gently) on my head, put an eye mask on to block the light, and lie veryveryvery still until it goes away.  I've had these since I was six, so I'm used to it.

Then the back pain from degenerative disc disease I was diagnosed with twenty years ago became a problem.  I got epidural injections for a while, then acupuncture.  While my back was being treated, my pain kept escalating in my joints and muscles.  The doctor knew it was unrelated to my back, and *I* knew I needed relief.  Please.  PRETTY please. Thus began my foray into the world of opiates.

First I was prescribed Tylenol 3. Then something stronger.  Vicodin, Percoset, Oxycontin.  It was like taking Tic Tacs.  No relief.  Nada.

That led to being prescribed slow-release morphine about a year ago.

The good thing about slow release -- there was no "high" feeling. Not at all.  I couldn't tell I was taking it.  That, though, was the bad part.  It wasn't helping, either.

In hindsight, I should have given up then and just tried to gut it out.  But before I was correctly diagnosed with Lyme disease, my body was fighting itself and all the lupus drugs that were being thrown at me.  I ached so badly I cried in my sleep.  Then I quit sleeping more than a couple hours at a time.  I hurt.  And I was scared.

What the bed started to feel like.

It takes no time at all to become addicted to morphine.  I knew that going in.  I knew I eventually had to quit taking those nasty dark blue pills, but my doctors were worried about the withdrawal process.  I've been severely depressed over everything and a bad withdrawal could potentially bring back suicidal thoughts.  Plus, they felt it HAD to be giving me SOME relief.  I felt damned if I do, damned if I don't.  I won't lie.  It was easier to keep taking the morphine, even when it no longer worked, than face the fear of withdrawal.

I had to quit, though, when a routine liver panel showed I'd passed into the toxic range and I had fatty liver disease.  It's reversible, but not fun.  I know exactly where my liver is because I can feel it.  It hurts.

I've been prescribed a million different things in the past ten years for this and that, and I imagine I've had fatty liver longer than I realize.  Drugs, both over the counter and prescribed, can wreak havoc on your liver.  I got my blood tested regularly, but when it jumped to toxic, I knew ... it's time.

As irony would have it, I began at-home detoxing right after sign ups for the Bead Soup Blog Party. What timing!  Almost 500 people counting on me to be on my A Game.  According to the doctor, I could detox in two weeks.  Well, that's not bad, I thought.  I'll be right as rain in time for partner pairing.

Let's just say that particular detox attempt was a colossal failure.  WAY too fast.  So, back on the morphine train.

Choo freaking choo.

Thinking about this little guy (taken in 2005) has helped me through it all.

I couldn't wait two months for my next appointment.  I wanted off that train NOW. I felt like a ticking time bomb, feeding my body with poison that had quit working long ago.  Time for the Big Girl Pants.  After some research, Rick and I devised our own detox.

(Pausing here to say, what worked for me does not mean it will work for you.  I'm not a doctor.  We did tell the doctor our plan, and he said go ahead, but we had to wing it a bit.)

Fast forward to now.  I haven't taken morphine in two weeks.  And I'm not going back.  I hurt just the same, no more and no less, which is actually a good thing.  Why take something when it doesn't work?  It would be a lot harder to kick the habit if it DID make me feel right as rain.  But it didn't. And strangely, I'm glad.

Detox is a humbling experience.  I was sick, miserable with myself, upset with everyone and everything.  I cried.  A lot.  I wanted to cave in and start taking those pills that weren't taking the pain away just to make withdrawal stop.

But I didn't.

I'm working with a team of doctors using as many natural remedies as possible, and I think twice and three times before even taking an aspirin.  Gutting it out through the bad parts is not my strong point.  I'm a total wimp in the face of an ouchie.  This is the right thing for me, though, and I have to keep reminding myself that in order to truly get well, I need to be healthy, not just mask the symptoms.

No matter where you are today in your journey, may you find safe haven.  I still have a lot of ships out at sea that haven't docked home yet, but they're coming in.

I'll keep the light on for you.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.