Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Hangover

Did you know I am an avid, voracious reader? I am, indeedy do, I am. I normally read between 75 and 100 books a year, and some of f those books could break a toe if you dropped it.

This year, however, I've only read 53 books, and that made me so sad. I haven't been able to concentrate as much but then I thought, wait. I should be happy! This means I've also been out in the car, going places, doing things with Zack (he and I are wicked at poker), and in general getting the house and studio back into shape again. So in hindsight, 53 books is pretty darned good. 

And the year isn't over yet,

So this year:


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The Transfer by Veronica RothA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
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30 pages
The Transfer

980 pages
A Breath of Snow and Ashes

355 pages

My best year, in retrospect, was 2012, when I read 135 books (39,024 pages). I somehow didn't sleep that year!

So once again, I'm going to make my goal 75 books for 2017, but I'm not going to be upset if I can't make it. I thought I'd be a lot more peeved at myself this year, but you know what? As much as I love books (more than beads, so that tells you a LOT), there's nothing I love more than getting better, making plans, going places with Rick and Zack, and allowing myself to SLEEP instead of read all night when what I really need is to sleep and not learn if King Whofurfluffit is going to kill the raging hoards or not.

That is NOT to say I won't have a few book hangovers, but those -- ah, those are the only kind that are worth it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.

Truer words were never spoken, yet harder words were never uttered.

I have several relationships in my life -- friends, family -- who can in one minute express kindness and in the next remind me rather intensely of my faults.

What happens then is a complete disaster of emotions. Are they right?  Am I failing as a mother and missing all the cues? Am I selfish? Am I stupid to listen to a therapist (words actually spoken to me)? Am I faking it (because really, I honestly can't faint at a whim or cry when told to)? Am I a waste of time?

After the initial panic attack, I start to think like the educated person I've fought to be. By "educated", I don't just mean my degree from University of Virginia. By "educated", I mean I 've done copious research, looked for opposing sources (and THEIR sources).This is when a scientific background, a scientific family, and a husband who is so smart I am constantly boggled comes into play. I won't lie ... sometimes it takes a Xanax and deep breathing and sleeping on it to makes sense of things.

Now where was I? Ah, yes. Even while venting, I have to (HAVE TO) keep a calm, civil tongue, one which *I* would listen to. Rationality doesn't necessarily mean you have the answers. Being absolutely certain you're right doesn't mean you can make that clear to anyone.

It means knowing when to keep quiet; respecting, even if not believing, what I'm hearing. It means taking the time to not make snap decisions and to above all, not vent in a public space if you aren't able or willing to handle the results (I so admire friends of mine who are able to do this. I'm rotten at it.). And it means being able to accept if you're wrong or if your delivery was faulty.

Everyone gets angry, hurt, humiliated, saddened, and often, struck with knowledge that they are indeed right, but it's no longer important to nail that home.

During the Christmas season, I've found that a lot of people can get into tiffs and outright fights that are caused because people haven't been together for a while, didn't know how a person felt about a particular subject, or, you know -- eggnog.  A slice of fruitcake and a glass of liquored-up eggnog can make things go bad if the situation is just right.

So my goal, not just for 2017, but for life, is to keep quieter when I'm hurt, really evaluate what was said, and realize that it's not always me, and it's not always them. It can be a simple misunderstanding ("You don't like blue? But I bought you a blue sweater!") to things that are deeply rooted and may never get fixed (see every public election).

Just never trust your tongue (or your typing!) when you're in the heat of anger. Sit on it for a while and decide if there is really, truly, a reason to let anger take the center stage when calmness and a degree of compassion could fix everything.

Make your words count. I hope to do better at this.

Much love to you all.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stuffed Animal Speciman Jars

I'm vaguely creeped out but more "that's brilliant, especially in a scientific family".  I wouldn't put liquid in the bottles like there would appear to be in some, but the biologist part of me is oddly intrigued.

I think Zack would not agree.

What do you think?

Source unknown

Thursday, December 08, 2016

So here's the what's what! And it sounds crazy but it's not that bad, really!

So! Here's my story of what's been going on for the past month or so. Time kind of has lost meaning here, ya know?

I am very pleased to say that the long, twisting, painful Lyme path I've been on for four years (more?) is starting to have an end that I can actually see. My mini-remissions are longer in length, I can handle the pain much better, and I can anticipate the bad days with far more accuracy. I have my blood drawn every three weeks and my levels that kept going whhhhheeeeee on a rollercoaster have been much more stable.  I save my spoons (Spoon Theory people, you with me?) and I've tried very hard not to feel like I'm messing up everyone's life who comes in contact with me. I started therapy and it's difficult, but worth it.

The typical thing is Murphy's Law is apparently a Law that is alive and well and untampered with. When the Lyme and co-infections started to regulate, other things dropped in my lap. My family has a recent history of thyroid cancer and I decided to have my thyroid checked again with a full panel. My thyroid has always been a little wiggy here and there, but then the blood work would come back normal. But when you see people you love get cancer, and your throat has been feeling.... not right for a year or so, I didn't want to ignore it.

I had an ultrasound and I have three small nodes. They are not big enough to biopsy safely and my thyroid is apparently really deep and the parathyroid is attached weirdly (?). But Rick and I were fully expecting, from our first doctor's messages, that we were looking at potential thyroid cancer. And I know that's not nearly the kind of cancer that so many of you have dealt with, but I wasn't exactly prepared. It felt so unfair to see the end of the Lyme road, even if it's still got a few hills on it, only to hit a freaking pot hole with teeth.

But wait! There's more! (And a set of Ginsu knives for 49.99 if you've read this far. Kidding.) I'm waiting to hear back from a cardiologist. There has been a heavy feeling in my chest, like my heart is too big (my thyroid was the right size so that wasn't it) and I already have mycoplasma pneumoniae from the tick, a constant cough, yucko -- so who knows. It could just be the way your body settles when you're in bed as long as I have been. I'm mellllllllting. That sort of thing. 

And the last thing (whew!) is I was diagnosed with a type of anemia (out of the blue, what's up with this???) where my hemoglobin is normal but my ferritin serum is extremely low. It's 5, and the norm is between 15-50. Basically, I don't have nearly enough stored iron, so I've been falling asleep just sitting up, passing out, lightheaded, dizzy, bumping into walls I can plainly see but smack into anyway, etc. I've got some pretty bruises! 

But really, no problem. This has a protocol! I need three weeks of infusions (once a week for three weeks) and then another blood test, but I can't be seen for my consult until Jan 4th, which really isn't that bad considering the holidays are HERE (and I'm excited because that means long nights of Trivial Pursuit with the family).  Then hopefully we can figure out which drug is chelating all the iron and I'll have the energy to get rid of some blubber I've amassed and push even harder up the next few hills of Lyme Road and C'Lyme to full remission.

And that has been my month!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Beads of Courage auction update

Please stay tuned for the EBay auction. I'll post here and on Facebook when it's up. Charities have to be registered on EBay so there is accountability for the totality of funds being delivered to the charity. For some reason BOC isn't showing up anymore and it has since forever, and Jen is working hard to get things coordinated.

In the meantime, visit my post below, check out people's creations, and make a list of one's you want to bid on. I have a list myself!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beads of Courage Charm Auction -- Welcome!

Helloooooo! Are you ready to make some bids on some beautiful, handmade charms? Of course you are! And where would said charms be, you ask? On Ebay, by clicking this handy link. Just click it.

(A quick  note -- as of 11:30pm, there may be a delay in Ebay, but please please keep checking there and checking here. It'll be worth it!)

First, what is this all about other than "ooooh sparkly!" and "OMG! BIN!"? This annual blog hop is the brainchild of Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addiction, a glass artist whose beads were featured in my book and whose beads I still hoard. The auction will benefit Beads of Courage, a phenomenal group whose byline is "Arts-in-Medicine for Children With Serious Illnesses". Each time a child goes through a surgery, chemotheraphy, a long hospital stay, or the like, participating hospitals give the child a bead. A bead may seem like a small thing, but it IS a big thing to these kids. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge they are not alone and someone out there they don't even know is rooting for them. Beads of Courage has been around for eleven years, and every year more and more beadmakers participate, more hospitals join the program, and more children smile.

And yes, there are lots of kids who get that many beads. Can you even imagine?

For a number of years I've wanted to participate in Jen's blog hop. It's very clever. A participant makes a certain number of beads in the same basic pattern. They send the individually bagged beads to Jen, who then goes about separating them, designating one for the auction, and sending BACK a charm to the people who sent charms. So if I send ten beads, she keeps one to auction and I get nine back, each different, each from a different bead maker. 

This year's theme was "Fairy Tales". We were tasked to create a charm using a bead or beads related in some way to fit the theme. The charm didn't have to wear a tutu (although that would be cute, and I have a hippo bead in my car that wears a pink tutu -- but I digress) and it didn't have to be "girly" (beads go to girls AND boys, and boys rock some fairy tales). When I got my charms, I was amazed at the creativity. I would love to show you each charm, but I'm really, really sure you might want to to visit the Ebay site to see them all!

via Jenny Davies-Reazor, from a previous auction

As for mine, at first I didn't think I had the skill to keep up with Jen's group. I haven't been in my lampwork studio in four years-ish, and I couldn't think of  anything fairy-tale-ish in metal I could do without wrecking the size limit. It turns out, the answer was under my nose all along.

I love buttons. And I've collected hoarded buttons by the bucketful for ten years.

I love this close-up, as it shows the subtle textures and buttonhole placements.

Favorites I bought at (where else) Bead and Button.

One of my button tins with 99% mother of pearl buttons.

Zack attacked.

These were used in a challenge piece I made here.

My rainy day jar. I've had this over four years, waiting for just the right day to open it, dump out the contents, and look at everything. Why haven't I done it yet? I love the way it looks now with all the sewing notions in it! I promise when I open it, I'll share the adventure with you!

Aaaand, these are not even the half of them. Seriously. Ask Zack. Not. Even. Close.

However, with six vintage jars of mother of pearl buttons on my coffee table, I quickly got an idea. A wedding dress. Buttons on a wedding dress. Or a ball gown? Yeah! So... now what?

Why, Cinderella, of course. 

I imagined Cinderella in a dress with buttons down the back, a beaded necklace, and those perfect glass slippers. But how to make the buttons stand out a bit more, as they were the focal of the charm?

I remembered that once upon a time (see what I did there?) I'd made resin charms with buttons. I dug through piles of things I'm destashing and rescued some copper/pewter bezels from Tierracast and stirred up some resin and attached the buttons.

For texture purposes, the majority of buttons are white plastic, but they are vintage. There are four mother of pearl buttons included. I just had to.

As they looked in the photo above, however, I felt they just weren't enough. They didn't get across that whole "Cinderella's Dress" idea I was going for. So I had to add a tiny handmade glass bead (for her necklace) and two Swarovski clear crystals (for her shoes). Here they are in finished form, with a copper ring on top so they can be added to a charm bracelet or used as a sweet pendant on a necklace or ribbon.

I really, really wanted to add a tiny scrap of lace but the charms were just too small to tie anything around without it looking like Hagrid started crafting, and when I finally got an idea, it was too late. So I stored it in my Swiss cheese brain for "do that again another time".

Now is the time to click that Ebay button I mentioned above, and it's also time to see what the other talented folks made for the Beads of Courage Auction. Their takes on fairy tales are cool, unique, beautiful, you name it! Lots of creativity. Lots and lots.

May all the children live happily every after.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Teaching My Son About the Meaning of Memorial Day (reprise from 2011)

I hope you don't mind my repeating a blog post from 2011, a post that it timeless, about Memorial Day. I hope you enjoy it.  Click here to read it, and for some amazing photos I took.

Thank you.

taken by Lori Anderson (me)

taken by Lori Anderson (me)

Lori Anderson creates jewelry which she currently shows on her Facebook Page, She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party, which is currently on haiatus.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Improve your day with a bit of beauty from Etsy.

When I'm not feeling my particular best, I find window-shopping at Etsy often cheers me up. I make a point of strolling through categories of things I couldn't make myself, let alone dream of. If I wander through jewelry, which I make, there's a big chance I could start feeling a bit low ("why couldn't *I* have thought of that, etc.). That kind of attitude is just no good to your psyche!

My first Etsy find involves dimensional paper Luna moths, a huge favorite of mine. Candygears makes beautiful Luna moths, among other things, and I'm enamored with them.


Aren't they beautiful? You can glue the dimensional art to headbands, costumes, or enjoy as art. They make me think of fairy princesses of the night garden.

Next is art from an artist whom I've followed for a long time, Wyanne. I've always loved her dreamy art, but through the years, I feel she's really grown. This print is called "Catch and Release" and I love both the idea behind it as well as the colors and emotion it evokes. Plus, narwhals.


Moving on ... with two cats who live to play, these handmade catnip jellyfish (jellyfishes?) are too darned cute.


My two cats would love these, but wouldn't they look cute hanging from the ceiling in your bathroom?

Lastly, yarn. I've noticed that many, many bead makers and jewelry designers gravitate toward knitting and crocheting. I think it's first about the colors, second about making something, and third the ability to create yet another stash with nary a shred of guilt. (Well. Maybe a *little*. But not enough to stop!)


Megan Risk creates gorgeous yarn for any occasion. This is definitely not your grandmother's Red Heart yarn! Sumptuous with lots of yardage, you can make a decadent scarf or a sumptuous sweater. Stuck on finding a pattern? Try and discover a world of wow.

Hopefully your day is a bit brighter from exploring these handmade vendors. Have fun shopping!


Friday, March 04, 2016

Lost Photo Day

There are a couple of updates at my blog "Lemon, Sugar, Hold the Lyme" for those interested. Click here.

Part of my cleaning up the house includes cleaning up my photo files on my computer. When my computer was upgraded to Windows 10 (which I am still grumbling over as I hate change in technology), for some reason almost all of my photos duplicated themselves. I already have a formidably large chunk of space taken up by photos, so the thought of sitting down and deleting them one by one is daunting. Seemingly impossible. It's not as simple as being able to highlight huge sections and delete. Oh no. That would be too easy. No, they duplicated in such a way that each duplicate lies beside the original, so I have to click every other photo and manually delete.

What a pain.

But turn that on its ear, and what a joy!

For I've found a treasure trove of photos I didn't even remember taking. Photos that hadn't been processed, cropped, color corrected. YEARS of photos. So looking at this as glass-half-full, I'm sharing some with you now.

In no particular order, or course.

A selfie of a selfie. Taken early this year. I was fading out my usual vivid purple and blue in preparation for my current copper red, which I'm now fading out to go red with yellow ends.

Beads I had planned to auction off until I realized the total cost in this box was too high to really fit budgets. So I'll be selling these off in bits. As always, if you're interested in something here before I list it in my as-yet-unfinished store (because I is tired), shoot me an email and let me know what you're interested in! There are handmade lampwork beads (including a Sarah Moran boro bead), a Gaea ceramic pendant, a Heather Powers polymer clay owl pendant, an ojime yin-yang fish bead, caged Swarovski pearls, and various gemstones and sundries. I had these in a candy box. Next time, smaller candy box!

And finally....

Two vintage photo albums atop a book of "Charming Bible Stories for Young and Old" from 1893 that's been in my family and is inscribed to a great-great-grandfather (I think that's the right number of greats). The photo album obsession began thanks to friend Cindy Wimmer and I've always loved books, especially these old ones that have amazing photos, drawings, and engravings and are loved and worn from reading.

That will do it for tonight. Thanks for spending some time with me, and please feel free to show links to some of your own recently found and almost forgotten photos in the comments below!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jewelry in Belle Armoire Jewelry, Spring 2016

I'm incredibly honored (and surprised!) that I have two pieces in the spring 2016 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry. I've always looked at Stampington magazines as the pinnacle of "it" and for years and years had hoped to one day be good enough to be in one of their publications. I've been in both a Belle Armoire Jewelry and a Jewelry Affaire magazine, but I have to tell you, the thrill never goes away.

These are not new pieces. They're new to any magazine, but not new to me. I haven't made anything in over a year. The owl necklace is in my personal jewelry box, and the nautilus shell and turquoise necklace, well, I haven't decided what to do with that one yet.

First, the Hearts of Atlantis necklace.

I remember when I bought that ammonite. I was at a bead show with a friend and wandered into a booth full of odd things -- coins, shells, Tibetan bells -- you get the idea. In a tray were these lovely nautilus-like fossils. There were about fifteen, some with a turquoise inlay and some with a pearl inlay. Zack loves fossils and I wanted to buy one for him and one for me, so I snapped a picture and texted it to my husband. In no time I got a "BING" and learned Zack wanted the pearl. I had looked through the entire tray for one of each with just the right coloring on the fossil, so happily took them home.

The necklace includes amazing pumpkin-carved turquoise beads gifted to me from a friend, a Lori Lochner lampwork bead, and wire circle of the tiniest metal beads I've ever seen that I made myself, and a sturdy but pretty bronze clasp I made myself. I also created the bail so from the side it had a little architecture.

If anyone is interested in this one, it's $152 due to the cost of materials and the time it took to make. Email me if you would like it.

The second necklace is from my jewelry box and I made it to go with a heather blue tunic. I never thought the red would work with it, but it really looks amazing (if I do say so myself, which I guess I just did!).  

This is a long necklace with a seemingly random placement of beads, but it took me forever to really get the balance correct. I made the first beads above the bronze owl by Lesley Watt match. After that, it was a free-for-all. I used square Greek ceramic spacers, bronze flower spacers, and large wavy spacers. I kept the spacer selection small since I had an abundance of patterns and colors in the lampwork beads. I had an old Tibetan bead I'd bought ages ago at the Bead and Button show and I constantly was fiddling with its placement -- I didn't want it to be stuck behind my neck or hidden in my hair. I broke up the lampwork with three antiqued bronze beads I'd been hoarding and a diamond-shaped hammered piece I took off an old belt.

I made this necklace specifically for this tunic.

The magazine goes on sale March 1st at most large bookstores, or you can order it here or never miss an issue (four a year) and subscribe here.

It's nice to have a reminder that this is what I used to do almost every single day. After a huge destash in the near-ish future, I hope to get back to it, and (crossing my fingers), have my sights set on a show in October. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 05, 2016

This post is truly random.

It is. Starting with this.

Made by ShopSaplingWest on Etsy, purveyor of one of my favorite things, letterpress. You have to go see the other cards

Pink. Love me some pink. My childhood bedroom was painted pink and the bed had a pink coverlet. And while this pink apple from The Glitter Guide is beautiful, don't eat paint. I hope they repainted a fake apple because a rotting pink apple is just...well, wrong. Wrong, sad, and yuck in so many ways.

But I still want one.

This luggage tag via HumorTrain is really clever. But I see several problems.

a) Everyone is going to grab your bag off the rotating belt to read all those words, then pass it around to the gathering crowd so they can enjoy the humor, too (and probably snap a selfie with it). Yet not one of them will yell, "ELIZABETH!!!". I bet they won't even put it back on the conveyer belt.

b)  A pleasant enough guy will call your name and hand you your bag. Then he'll ask if you'd like to share a taxi to your destination since of course, it's on his way. SURPRISE, his destination comes after yours, so he now knows where you live. That gives him enough info to call you for a date. And before you know it, you have a real life John Cusack holding a boom box over his head while standing under your window blasting Phil Collins.

c) Some poor soul in Wyoming is going hoarse yelling, "ELIZABETH!" while you're at Luggage Claim in Georgia.

Hope these made you laugh a little!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Forgotten Photo Day -- Choices

 New post at LemonSugarLyme for those interested.

Rain coming. That nearly always means migraine. But the hole in the clouds...I get to choose if it closes in with darkness or expands into light.

(Picture taken out my front door some years ago.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today's Blog Theme -- Jewelry from the past

I used to make jewelry, you know? Tons of it. Hours spent every day, shows or web updates every weekend. As I start to sift through boxes of beads, I'm excited that every now and then, I put several sets into one bag, thinking, "Yep, that'll look terrific eventually." Having those ready-to-go bags gives me comfort among the detritus that is my studio.

Now if someone would just dust in here.....

You may have seen these before, but here are some past creations.