Thursday, December 6, 2012

This weeks work in pictures

One would think that with winter upon us, I would get something done in the studio, and you would be delighted with color and texture, but alas....I had to go out and do some more cleaning in the way back before the cold weather hits hard and the leaves drop off those dastardly vines.  We are up to 11 types of invasive vines!  We have taken to calling the back area, The Pit of Despair. 

Here is a picture of the latest pile of goodies hauled out for removal by our favorite City worker.....The Stick Man!  He's become sort of a Hero for us.  Really.  What would we do with all of this if he didn't come and get it????

I made sure to get something Normal sized in the picture for reference, and if you look beyond the mailbox, you will see that this pile is actually down in a drainage ditch!  But, to get the true width of the pile, I had to use the house across the street for comparison!

Now, it is impressive, is it not?  Side effect?  The hole in the back fence was discovered by my dogs, who promptly went exploring!  With a tight holiday schedule, fixing the fence has been left to me.  My first choice would be the Ladies' Favorite....duct tape.  Alas, it is damp and rainy today, so I have elected to use plastic tie wraps to hold it together.   Just temporarily.  Really. 

Fencing repair makes me think of John Wayne, cattle ranchers and things that Men Do with their hats and boots on while I tie on an apron and bake a pie.  I would do that too.  I'd bake a pie for John.  Wouldn't you?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mark Your Calendars!

Lori Anderson has done it again!

And the Winner of the Party on Mars Necklace Is Iveth Caruso!

It's that time!  Time for the winner to be announced in the drawing for the Party on Mars necklace as part of the Artisan Whimsy Market for the 2012 Holiday Collection.  If you are anything like me, you have visited everyone's shops, perused, perhaps purchased and with a little luck from the USPS, PLAYED with your new goodies. 

Now that you've waited all week to see it, here is the drawing results for the contest on my blog.

So I'm having a blonde moment and I cannot get that random number generator in my page, but I got it on  the side bar....The numbers are from 1 to 14 and the lucky number is: # 1!

Congratulations to Iveth Caruso, the Creative Atelier.   Congratulations!  I'll be contacting you for shipping information and thank you to everyone who follows my crazee blog!  Blessings to all this holiday season! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reflections of the Day

  A thing is complete
     when you can
         let it
                         ~Gita Bellin

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bead Caps

It was gently pointed out that some of my readers will not know what a bead cap here are a couple of pictures taken earlier this month.  Fine silver and copper.   

Cyber Monday...where?

Okay, so I am not big on B.F. after Thanksgiving. I don't even like to acknowledge it in any commercial sense with regard to big retailers. I know that the deals are frequently better on the very same items in the beginning of November, if there really is a Must Have of anything. I've been prudent, feeling that what I must have this year is really LESS of any thing and MORE of space.

To whit, I am sitting here, frustrated after an hour online trying to Cyber a deal on a microwave. No Deal. Really. We bought this cute Magic Chef at Home Depot in July. It stopped on Thanksgiving morning. Really. Now, it's not that we are big microwaver-s and have used it to death. Personally, I use it once every morning to heat water for my coffee press...7:11 minutes to be exact. Just water. Occasionally, my husband will have some coffee and by the time he adds the sugar and the creamer, one more minute to re-heat his coffee back to an acceptable level. We do heat the occasional left overs, but as I do not like leftovers of Anything, that is usually just a few minutes here and there. Having explained all this leaves me feeling CHEATED by the microwave company. I don't blame Home Depot, really, since there was this warranty. But since it would cost me more to ship the thing back than I paid for it, I am left with a useless piece of electronics...a.k.a, the Boat Anchor. Not recyclable. Not useable. Another piece of blight on the soil of this country. So, I cyber searched this morning. No deals. What I did find are HUGE amounts of online reviews of people reporting the same issues with ANY brand of microwave.

So is this life for all of us now? To spend roughly $100 on a small microwave to have it die in 4 months? Math, anyone. Yes, it is less than a dollar a day, if you use it every day, but that is compared to microwaves that lasted 15 years. Even then, at a price of $400, for just 10 years, that is a cost, of um, , a whopping 11 CENTS a day. And I rounded UP. 

I am left thinking that this is just another sign of greed run amok in the good ole' US. [I don't subscribe anymore to the 'of America' part, but that has to do with freedom and rights and the Constitution and I won't go into that here. I might though, one day.]  What bothers me is that I cannot determine if my product was even made in America. Is anything these days? 

In the meantime, I am boiling water on the stove. It worked for my grandmother, so I am betting it will still work for me. But as I get ready to drag my German vacuum cleaner out to try and suck up the remnants of the Thanksgiving weekend, I am most struck by the fact that Made in America used to be common place, and it used to mean Quality. 

Today I am sad. Not about the microwave. But because there are so many wonderful people in this country, who care about their work and who would be happy to go and earn the money needed to support their families and with loving attention, make a quality product for others. Because when we talk about Handmade, the line for me gets a little blurry on this one. Yes, my bead caps are made with lots of love and attention and a bit of my very own Soul. The beads I bought this weekend from other Artists are made the same way. I can feel it. And I'm willing to bet that many of my readers know it in the same way. It evokes joy, bliss and pleasure to hold in your hand such a treasure. 

PLEASE, tell me again how that differs from ANY thing made the same way? Or any work performed with attention to detail and the sense that what we do MATTERS. It does Matter. If you work somewhere and you throw your heart in to what you do, it matters. And there are those of us who Know it and Appreciate it and are Thankful more than just one day a year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Art Giveaway!

In conjunction with the Artisan Whimsy 2012 Holiday Collection, I will be sponsoring a give-away of the Party on Mars necklace from my First Galaxy Series from 2012!   This handmade necklace features beautiful red candy jade and artisan lamp work beads by Beth Blosser of Pomegranate Glass woven with crystals and warm copper trimmings. This one of a kind necklace was previously listed in my Etsy shop with a retail value of $40.00, and can be yours FREE!

Entering is easy, just sign up to follow my blog and leave a comment on this post by November 30th!  A random number generator will be used to identify the winner on December 1st.  Please make sure to leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.  Shipping and insurance fees will be included and your package will arrive ready for wearing or giving this holiday season.  Good luck to all!

For more choices in handmade gifts this holiday season, check out my items at Goldkisses Art.

For other artist blog giveaways, check out the listing on Artisan Whimsy!

Artisan Whimsy Market 2012 Holiday Collection

Shop the finest Jewelry Designers For the 2012 Holiday Season
Many of our artists have published work & sell their beautiful pieces nationally and internationally.
See something you like?
Please click on the picture to browse their giveaway and view all their
Fabulous Handmade Jewelry Pieces.
All participating jewelry designers will be offering a unique discount in their stores
& each will be promoting a GIVEAWAY!
(who doesn't love a giveaway??)
Our group will be offering over $700 combined in prizes!!
Winners will be chosen individually by the blog owners.
For event wide discount code use: AWHOLIDAY

We will be hiding
Three Exciting Giveaways
throughout our participants blogs.
When you find them, follow the directions to be entered!
Thanks for shopping HANDMADE!
Visit Artisan Whimsy at:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Where the Truth Lies

Somewhere along the line,
that which is true is being made to appear false,
because that which is false is accepted as truth.
—Dewey Larson

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday's Words of Wisdom

From The Sacred Yes by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh:

We are not here just to survive
                                     and live long...
We are  here to live and know life
   in its multi-dimensions
      to know life in its richness,
             in all its variety.

                   And when a man lives
           explores all possibilities available,
     never shrinks back from any challenge,
           goes, rushes to it, welcomes it,
                rises to the occasion
                  then life becomes a flame,
                        life blooms.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

• Painting with Fire Studio • torch-fired enamel supplies, jewelry and beads •

• Painting with Fire Studio • torch-fired enamel supplies, jewelry and beads •: Painting with Fire Studio - torch-fired enamel supplies, jewelry and beads - St. Petersburg, Florida

Shannon Hearts Giveaway

Shannon Hearts Blog is hosting a give away of a beautiful blue druzy necklace made by H.Finn Jewelry.  You can enter on the blog and in a variety of ways to increase your chances!

You can also see more of H.Finn Jewelry at her shop.  What a wonderful opportunity to win something breathtaking!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Send it out into the World

Today I was going to post words of wisdom from one of the many volumes suffusing our living spaces.  A randomly chosen book; a randomly chosen page. I trust that Spirit will do the rest.  As so it has. 

Life is full
    and overflowing with the new.

        But it is necessary to empty out the old to make room
                   for the new to enter.        
                                                                     Eileen Caddy
                                                                     Footprints on the Path

I have no idea when Eileen actually wrote these words.  Perhaps it doesn't really matter.  What does matter is that this is a concept which has been repeating itself over and over again this year, and not just for me, but for others I know.  This is not the first time I've heard the concept either.   In fact, I thought my Father invented it!

Several years ago, my parents began practicing what I can only now assume to be this same wisdom.  Shopping with my Mom, we perused and wandered through the mall, ending at our favorite store.  We had fun picking things out, trying things on. What surprised me is when my Mom, potential new blouse in hand, stood very still and thoughtful.  This deep musing confused me, and I just  had to ask what was going on.  That is when she informed me that my Dad had suggested that they begin an effort to never bring in anything new that there wasn't something that they could release, or Send Out into the World.  My Mom was totally committed to the idea, but standing there, struggling to decide what she could part with, she suddenly turned and put the blouse back down, saying "I really like every thing I have".

And so it began.  It's catchy...and challenging.  At first introduction, it seems clever and easily done.  It's a little different when you are standing in your favorite store with some coveted little item you've found!  So you bring the item home, and find that you enjoy it, but the requirement to send something else out into the world enters into the picture.  Believe me, the first few times this occurs, you will not just find one item to let go of, but will begin to see things Everywhere!  Not just that sweater in the closet that you haven't worn in 4 years, but what about those crazy mittens you bought when on a trip and forgot your gloves?  Those were only worn one weekend, 7 years ago!  So you give away two, gain one.

Then, the concept gains momentum.  You bring home one more thing, and give away 7 things. Then you find yourself with a box in the closet for those other things you come across that you know are out of style and better suited to Halloween costumes that taking space in your closet...and energy in your life.  Then the seasons change.  Summer turns to fall and we drag out our winter sweaters, our turtlenecks and fuzzy slippers.  Go find another box for the sweaters you didn't wear, for that flannel nightgown your mother gave you last Christmas.  Better to send them on to someone who will wear them all.  Someone who would enjoy them, maybe who needs them desperately to stay warm this winter.

Needless to say, this moves from clothes, to shoes, to knick knacks and kitchen appliances.  It becomes the Great Release.  Why?  In my experience, it requires a LOT of Enegry to care for and manage our over abundant possessions.  I'm not just talking about vacuumming and dusting all of these things, but also the sheer effort of always having so much to choose from in all facets of our daily lives.  How many of us have more than two or three pair of jeans?  Lipsticks? T-shirts in the same color?  It is in the giving away, the letting go that we find more of our time, our energy and ourselves.  We begin to see that what we want to surround ourselves with is a true picture of Who We Are and what makes us happy. 

And there's something else that we re-discover.  This amazing transition occurs from a consciousness of poverty and lack, to realizing how incredibly abundant all of life really is!  When we release all that is not a reflection of who we are now, and embrace what truly brings us joy we begin to find our way out of the stories that others have created for us about what we need, what we crave, what we Must Have.  It's there every day in magazine ads, television and your in box promotions from your favorite stores.  Must Have!  One Day Only!  So the letting go of small things leads to bigger things and space in our life opens up to allow new things to enter.  I've always described this as the Universe abhors a Vacuum and will Move to Fill It.  So the abundance that Spirit provides moves in when there is Space for It.  And that means that it can come in many different forms.  We just have to have the intention to open ourselves to let it Begin.

The other wonderful thing that occurs is that this is catchy.  Watch.  Mom starts to do it, and the children will do it too.  Even the hubby who will decide that he really doesn't need two leaf blowers, regardless of the number of trees.  It moves through families, through friendships.  It passes along in skips and hops.  Some people just aren't ready to let go quite yet.  There are those who hang on to everything forever with the thinking that one day they will need it again, or find a use for some odd thing.  And that's okay too.  What kept me going is knowing that there is the helping quality, a sense of satisfaction when you can give something you no longer really use or need to someone who could Really Use It Now.  Whether it is food, shelter, clothing. 

There are all kinds of places to contact, places that coordinate Giving.  There are charitable organizations that will take your donations and sell them to raise money for other purposes.  One of my favorite now is the ReStore in Commerce.  They sell donated items to raise money to build Habitat for Humanity houses. There are the Goodwill centers, the Salvation Army and perhaps even your church.  Sometimes I find someone from Freecycle, a Yahoo! group that is free to join and where items are listed as Wanted and Taken, free to anyone in the group.  I love the sense of Community in that. 

There also has been a re-education for us.  I used to collect books.  Many books.  A voracious reader in years past, 50 a year was average.  After some long soul searching, and slow weaning, my husband and I seperated out about 200 books which we then took to the local library.  They sold them to raise money for new books. After estimating the money spent, we decided for the years to come, that we will not buy books that we can borrow at the library.  We also calculated the money spent on books, which does not seem much at $12 or so a purchase, but was a substantial amount over the course of a year.  That amount we earmarked for a direct donation to be used in the way the charity of our choice decides.  Less energy involved for all concerned, and the effect is the same.

This process has been ongoing for a year for us now, in earnest.  I can honestly say that we have made great headway.  I confess to owning far too many black sweaters, and too many pair of blue jeans, and well, there is still that 50 pairs of shoes!  One day I will tackle that too.  I promise.  For now, I am just enjoying more free time to walk the dogs, snuggle the cats and write.   

And here's the challenge with the Words of Wisdom for today:  What can you Send Out into the World to fill a need for someone else, and make room for the New to come into your Life?

(and as an aside for Iveth, my sweet friend, who is now Master of the Process,  you are a continual font of inspiration!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Musings

Today's thought comes from John & Lyn St. Clair-Thomas from Eyes of the Beholder.

There is much to use of nature's way.
   It is with you always, available to you always.

      Take time to hear and see
                that which is close at hand.

There are forces in you untried.

   They are yours to be used
        as you find them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Are One...Breathing

This amazing picture arrived in my in box this morning, compliments of the Do As One website update email.  I LOVE it. 

I first found the Do As One webpage just browsing online, looking for inspiration.  What I found is an amazing way to connect with people all over the world, by Breathing.  Color breathing, meditation breathing and then, just following the Breath in Unity with others from around the world.

I'm not sure exactly when they formed, but last year, on 11-11-11, there was a world wide event for anyone who wanted to participate to get together and Breathe.  My husband and I got on the computer and did it.  We Breathed.   It was Amazing.

The last year for us has been revolutionary.   There have been battles won and lost.  Confronted in some way at nearly every turn, we were asked to remodel, reshape, even re-envision ourselves, our lives, our daily choices and the most basic of our core beliefs.  We have faced physical, emotional and mental challenges that have broken open who we are, what we believe about ourselves, the world and where we belong in it.  Our hopes have been lifted and dashed and redefined.  Our Spirits, like young oysters, unable to hang on in the hurricane, were dashed on the rocks, only to reveal to us their pearls. 

What did we do through all of this?  We breathed.  Sometimes it was hard.  There are times when I felt like I couldn't draw one more breathe, that everything just wanted to permanently Exhale....forever.  Spent breath.  Spent life.

And when that happened, I would go to Do As One, and Breathe.  Sometimes I couldn't keep up, couldn't draw the breath in long, but as I stuck with it, a calm would envelope me, a hush, and in that time, the simple act of concentrating on only one thing, the Breathing, would I surrender to the requirement of my Spirit.  And that alone would support and sustain everything else that my body needed right then.  A sort of re-balancing, I could then move forward again.  Nothing would have changed with regard to the outside challenges, but what did change was me and how I perceived what was there.

Our daily lives still present us with challenges.  The difference now is that we have become pretty proficient at breathing through them.   And the next time you face a challenge, check to see if you are holding your breath.  You might be surprised.  It happens all the time.

So, I invite you to try the Do As One website and breathe for a bit. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012


On 11/11/12, we are inviting the world to celebrate "One Day - A New Global Holiday Celebrating Our Oneness". Whether it is through prayer, art, meditation, chanting, ecstatic dance, singing, laughing, yoga and much more, we envision having one billion people collectively and synchronously focus on their own practice for one hour. Then, after the hour, we are inviting everyone to consciously breathe together for 11 min in the Universal Breathing Room on and participate in one of the largest synchronous event the world has ever experienced!

Celebrate "ONE Day" on 11/11/12 by hosting your own event here:
Events of all shapes and sizes will be happening around the world to celebrate our Oneness. Take action by logging into and clicking the "Get Involved" button.

ONE Day is no longer in the future. ONE Day is here. ONE Day is now.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

With Reverence for Plumbers

Needless to say, if you read my blog, you may wonder why I haven't make any jewelry lately.  As you may recall, we moved oh, was it only two months ago??  Oh yes. Two months and two weeks.

 You see, we are pretty handy folks. We can do a Lot of things around the house, and typically find these things challenging, enjoyable and great learning experiences.  There was an ominous looking wet spot along the walk on the outside wall.  My husband, with his wonderful sense of anticipation, went out, shovel in hand.  Ten minutes later, he came in and pronounced in what seemed a very grave voice, "We need a professional."  A Professional.  I tentatively replied, "What sort of Professional?"  To this he replied, "I'm not really sure." 

Now, few things make the warning bells go off in my head, but that did it for me.  If he didn't know what to do, nor whom to call,  this did not sound good.   A little searching online answered the question. Oh.  Plumbing.  Goody.

 To whit, we have met our local utilities management staff. Very nice. Then we spoke with a Professional. Very nice.  Turned out, it was necessary to call a Team of Plumbers.  Then two men showed up within an hour to survey the situation. Very nice again. The situation was outlined. EW.  Not so nice. 

It was Saturday, but they dug a trench by hand on the side of the house.  Four hours later and we knew the full story.   ICK.  Again.  They found all of problem, which turned out to be most of the problem, because parts of it are still revealing aspects of said problem, every day of this mystery.  It was a Large Problem by our standards.  Didn't seem to faze these amazing men on the scene.  Oh, and if I haven't said so, let me be quite clear that this problem involves a Smell of such defining characteristics that there can be no doubt as to the nature of said Problem, or the lingering issues.

I did not take pictures last Saturday. I tried to leave town. Suffice it to say that this was not anything I wanted to deal with in any way, whatsoever. Ever.  In that moment, I never appreciated MEN in the same way before.  Total nonchalance, like this just happens all the time and it's No Big Deal. I was so happy to see that, I slipped on my sneakers and POOF! was gone faster than the Invisible Man.

More visits during the week. White pipes delivered.  100 feet!   People arrived en masse, all with a white pickup truck,  spray cans in 5 different colors, painting stripes in the yard, down the driveway.  All while I chatted on the phone, sitting on the front steps.  My only job was to remember what my Mom taught me as a child.  When MEN come to do things, have lots of cold things to offer them to drink.  I took here words to heart and on Friday, went to the grocery store.

Saturday morning, one week later.  Here we go.  The Big Job.  It took a full 8 hours, and my hubby worked until just past dark trying to rake, spread and prepare to get some grass seed down as it just might rain today.

The trench early in the day

All the men held a meeting under the house??

Filling it in. Note the man just at the front of the shovel. He's 6'4" tall!

Johnny makes working this machine look easy.

So that was yesterday.  Mind you, I went shopping for HOURS.  Those who know me well know that it had to be fairly crazy for me to actually resort to shopping as an escape!  And for those who really know me well and are dying to know....I bought some socks.  Then I people watched.

There are still about 4 more hours of work to be the Pros.  And it is true. Poop really does run down hill.  I just didn't know that it is a ratio of 1/4" per linear foot.  Not that I see using that information again in the future. Near or Far.

Thanks Guys.  Thank you for the MEN in my life who know things I don't want to be bothered with or by, and thank you for knowing how to use these big pieces of machinery.  I can honestly say that I don't think I will ever walk by the Plumbing isle at the local hardware without some quiet moment of deep Reverence.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 28, 2012

One Day at a Time

This week's lessons:  1. Poop really does run downhill.  
                                       2.  If  there is karma, sometime in my youth or childhood, I must 
                                            have been very, very bad.
                                       3.   We really need a type of transformation. Here. Now.
                                       4.  Always appreciate an Excellent plumber and have ice cold beverages.
                                       5.  This too shall pass.  Not nearly as fast as I would like.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Review - Shared by Lori Anderson @ Pretty Things

From Lori Anderson at Pretty Things!  A great book review and book give-away starting this week!  All Lark titles, with wonderful color and inspiration.  Click the link to read Lori's review and enter to win something Amazing!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A day of painting

Today the weather finally broke and a bit of sun came shining through the clouds. After a number of rainy days, this often beckons to me to get up and get moving.  Make hay while the sun shines and that sort of thing.  What better way to spend the day than to start painting the kitchen cabinets?  I started with the new center island as it is to be black and let's face it, I've already gotten it sanded and prepped.  Today I felt like painting and not prepping! 

We also are lacking wall paint to cover the caulk from the installation of the new countertops, so I cracked that can open first to be sure to be able to get two coats on in one day.  Not too hard.  Of course, the wall paint is latex.  Water washable. Wish all things are so easy!

The island is to be black; and an oil satin.  Not water washable. All things considered, there is not much paint at this point where it is not supposed to be...on the wood.  I did find a twist that I had not expected.  I can only paint 1/2 at a time.  Due to the cabinet doors, which cannot open all at once, I am left with a partially painted, semi-dry, very tacky door flung open and whole project at a halt until something dries sort of confinement.  There will be no cooking today, but now I am guessing I will be painting beginning at about 6 pm to try and finish the first coat.

So here I am in the middle of the afternoon with nothing to do but wait for the proverbial paint to dry.  Items to consider: 

1. The Young and the Restless comes on at 3 pm.  My Mom got me hooked on this soap opera when I was young. I can go years without seeing it, and suddenly there it is, and it's like only a short time has passed between viewings. In that regard, it's like seeing old friends.
2.  Nap. 
3.  Go to the grocery store.

Let's face it, I will probably see part of the Young and Restless before I fall asleep in a nap.

But so you can see the progress, here's a picture of the kitchen as it looks now!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Studio

First, my suggestion is to make a cup of tea.  After all, it is raining.  When is it better to sip hot, enticing, aromatic tea than when a tropical storm like Isaac is sending Lots of water your way?  My favorite is called Happy tea.  I found it on and liked both the name and the color of the can.  The tea itself is a warm orange, although it does not taste like oranges, but lemons and peaches.  For the truly decadent, slice a fresh peach and add two slices into the hot water. YUM.  Well, after all, I am a Georgia girl.  Even better,  peaches and honey. 

Add a couple of friends:



...and it makes for one sweet cup of tea.   There is one more baby, Amelia, but she is camera shy and for the most part hides under the bed.   Almond has been with us for 16 wonderful years and one can see the wisdom in this stone-cold killers' eyes.  She weighs less than 5 pounds, but has been seen dragging home 5 foot long black snakes, large squirrels and many voles.  Let's just say she likes to hunt.  Oyster found us on vacation in Florida.  She had almost no hair and we could see all of her bones.  She ran over, sat on my feet and well, the rest is history.  You can always find her to my left on the desk, and she has a wonderful skill in always, no matter how she turns, or twists or rolls....she never ever misses the chance to hit the CAPS LOCK key.  REALLY. 

Some of you have asked to see pictures of my studio.  Finally unpacked and mostly re-organized, I tried to capture the essence of the space. 

This is my fire station.   I can solder, anneal, pickle, polish and generally make an unsightly mess on this old folding table.  I found a great old Peach crate for keeping files and hammers.  And yes, that is a drill press too, although for things of late, I find it more efficient to use my hand drill.

My drawing table has been flattened out and holds beads and assemblage parts that I am working on. I have storage containers, a mini stereo and a small television in the background.  This table was the hardest to pack and un-pack!  I like to keep lots of things loose on the top or in those small white dishes.  Those are actually sushi saucers for wasabi and soy sauce.  They make great bead holders, and the crisp white means I can see the colors very clearly.  I purchased these years ago at Pier One Imports.  I love getting inspired there.  I find all sorts of unusual objects that I use in unusual ways.  They even have a Pinterest page that has DIY, Fan ideas and ways to show off your ideas.  Can you say U-NEE-QU?   

And to the left of this table, I not so subtly swiped, is my husband's water color table which has lots of thin drawers down the middle, and a top that opens on sliders.  The top can go from 4 feet wide to 6 feet wide...and there are bead boxes ALL over it.

This is the Awesome work table that my new-to-woodworking-husband made this spring. It is measured and cut to just my height.  It is wonderful for for polishing and drilling with my hand piece.   The table top is very heavy which is great for pounding, forming and the oil rubbed finish is very smooth.  I love it!  Here is where I keep my punches, my vise, my Sizzix machine, cutter and dapping tools, and my hand piece. 

Here is another of my husband's brilliant ideas.  He took an old scrap of 2 X 4, trimmed and shaped to fit under the handles of my pliers collection.  He sanded it and lightly stained it too.   I'm not the only creative one here and it shows.

Well, my tea is gone, the cats are asleep and the old clock is chiming...time to get back to work!  I hope you enjoy your rainy day too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Beading Gem's Journal

The Beading Gem's Journal

Check out the banner give a way on Pearl's site. If you want a great highlight for the fall shows, you might get one free!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

One Day follows another

Okay.  Yes, we moved to this cute little house. Yes, all but two of the boxes that we couldn't fit are in storage, and those two are blocking half the hall to the back door.  Now I have been MIA for some time, failing to even get emails off in a timely fashion.  The days are melding in a blur of manual labor, sandwiches and showers.  Lots of showers!

This is what the kitchen here looked like on June 29th, before we did anything, or moved in.

This is what it looked like last week on Wednesday night about 8 pm when I had been scrubbing the floors for 3 hours.  The floors are actually white tile with white grout.  It has become an obsession to get them clean enough.  We sanded, re-painted the cabinets inside and out and put on all new hardware.  Yes, the cabinet doors are here and ready to go up, but I think too much time has past and now we forget that we have them or need them!  The dishwasher space is a little tight and a little crooked, so it always looks like that....For Now. 

This is what the kitchen looked like on Friday just after 7:30 am when the delivery truck came early!

Unable to get pretty much anywhere in the house on Friday, I went outside.  This was the driveway on Friday afternoon after I had decided to address a little rain water flooding the front yard sort of problem.  Those red bricks used to only go to the basil plant in the ceramic planter. What I found, is they actually went all the way to the street.  While digging them out, I also added a french drain.  We have been getting frog chockers for 4 days and I was getting a little tired of the sand and dirt washing out the walkway and ending up in the house, requiring Lots of vacuuming.  Once I had the ditch digging accomplished, I called and made a reservation for new gravel....13 TONS of it!

The cabinets are not due to be installed until later this week, so over the weekend, we addressed another drainage issue, started a new front walk and my sweet husband found the Energy to even add plants!

They go the length of the fence; hostas and nandina.

This morning was cool and wonderful.  I rose early, made lunch for my husband and waited....and then, there it was.  The sound of the Gravel Truck.  Well, it is one thing to see these on the highways and by-ways of America.  IN your driveway is a Whole 'Nuther Thing!

The spreader truck came and the nice guy did His Rock Thing.  Of course, nothing goes quite to plan around here, and I discovered that while we wanted rock to be spread to the front of the chimney, The Truck could not fit past the dogwood.   So, I got this!

He did a great job on the driveway parts he could get to, B U T.  There was this Mound.  No less than 4 feet high.  Let's see it from the side view.

Ah!  That is a 6 foot handle shovel propped on the side of that mini mountain!  So, at 9 am, with of course Nothing To Do Today......I started spreading rocks.  At 4:07 pm I stopped.  The mounds are gone. The cars are parked back in the driveway.  My right arm is a little numb and I have a swollen elbow, but let me tell you, if there were a merit badge for rock farming, it was won today!

And as Rhett said to Scarlett, "you've been working in the fields! Those are not the hands of a Lady!"  I actually wore out my suede gloves!

Confirmed. Tomorrow the cabinet people come.  To whit, Never a Dull Moment!

Words of Wisdom

One of the saddest lessons of history is this:
If we have been bamboozled long enough,
We tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.
We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.
The Bamboozle has captured us,
It’s simply too painful to acknowledge,
Even to ourselves,
That we have been so credulous.
Carl Sagan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The moving has finally ceased in all but minor ways and I am finding my creative way back to balance. Camera batteries are on the charger to begin recording the changes, the before and afters.

Things which did not fare so well; the copier.  So, I've just installed a new one and am waiting with bated breath the see if it will work on wireless. After 2.5 hours, I am ready to move on.  I am past the days when I want computers to devour my time, gnawing at the minutes and hours waiting for installation prompts and those cute service bars, loading, as slow as ever.  Or has my patience worn away with the years?

I have but one picture to post, the only thing my hands have been able to accomplish since the third week of June when packing in earnest commenced.

Why this?  Because during the move I lost all 10 pair of eye glasses over and over and over and over again.  When I finally laid my hands on a pair that drifted out from under the car seat when my husband braked a little too fast, it became a dedicated challenge to make it so I could not lose those, thereby being able to actually look for the others.

This is the measure of normalcy.  When I have glasses all over the house and a pair around my neck, but never, ever, permanently on my face!

So how do you keep up with vision challenges?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

moving and packing

We have been cleaning and wrapping and moving and packing and packing and moving for what seems like months now.  I have become an adept at the entire process.  There is something else to it, which is that I find that if an object is just mediocre, and neither inspires or delights me, it is much easier to NOT pack and move it.

The sad part is that in packing, we tend to pack the things that are little used first, knowing that we can do without them for a few weeks.  What I am finding, is that what is already packed is probably the things I will miss least and now that we are down to the three day count for the moving van to arrive, all that is left is what I really want to keep.  If we ever have to pack and move again I fully intend to do it just the opposite and pack all my favorite things FIRST.  Then I am left with the things rarely used, and if I am able to find some joy or purpose to them, then I will pack them and if not, well, NOT. 

Now I must return to the moving and packing. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the House

Yes!  We are still in the throws of moving.  The only room that has not yet been attacked with paper, boxes and tape is my studio.  It is just so hard to walk in and try to imagine putting everything in a box, so I tell myself, "later, later".  Eventually there will be no more later, and the day will come to pack it all up.  But not today!

The house we are moving to is in the historical district in Eastern Georgia.  Once upon a time, it had tremendous gardens tended by the home's owner, a tiny woman in advanced age. The stories told describe her out in the early morning hours, every day.  As we walk around the house, there are signs of blocks and pavers and pathways although most have sunken down and nearly disappeared into the surrounding ground.  These will be excavated, and sand used to lift them back up.  We found wild ginger growing in the front yard and in a  bed outside the back door as well as old roses and the largest Pyracantha either of us has ever seen!

The oak and dogwood trees have grown over the years and the front yard spends much of the day in shade, a perfect place for lots of ground cover.  Vinca is the likely choice with it's low, dark green vines and purple flowers.  Just in front of the house are large Nandina plants that must have overgrown the windows.  They have been cut back very hard, but will still need to be moved to a location in the back as there is no longer enough sun in the front to sustain them.  My vote to fill the front is Gardenia bushes.  They smell heavenly!  As my new studio space is just behind the windows on the left side, wouldn't that be a treat? 

There is also a trumpet vine growing in the back yard that is at least 20 inches in diameter.  I have never seen one so large.  That's it in the left side of the picture, recently cut back and already sprouting new vines.  If you aren't familiar with the southern favorite, it blooms with the most amazing orange flowers that are trumpet shaped and will do so through out the summer.  It grows a little like mint, in that you have to watch it as it will send shooting vines out from underground in every direction.  If you like to plant it and forget it, this is not for you!

back yard

Now here is a picture of the secret of this house.  If you look very hard, you might just barely see a hint of the surprise.  We have always named the houses we have lived in, and no doubt this one will somehow involve the gardens. For now, we have named this area the Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden

There is this little opening along what appears to be a wall of bushes and weeds.  In fact, the opening is Muscadine vine and even though nearly suffused in other weeds, there are fruits hanging on the vine now.  Step through the wall and it is an entire garden all its own.  It is circular and surrounded with bamboo and ornamental grasses.  It is stunning even overgrown with weeds!  We immediately could see our outdoor table and chairs here with overhead lights wound through and across the tree branches.  If you too, carry the blood of the earth keepers, you will understand our delight.

Perhaps what will be needed too, is just a few honey bees to help things along and keep it all blooming.  I suspect my husband has that well in hand as he has been a beekeeper for years.

The inside of the home needs a little Love after some neglect and we have already begun to open our hearts to the treasures inside.  I am learning that my husband knows all sorts of things about repairing old windows and other issues that are cropping up.  Just one more reason to admire him. 

Thank heavens my husband and I both consider gardening the perfect therapy.  I saw this online, and laughed.  Just what we need, an invitation for the garden elves and flower fairies to come and help! 

Back to packing, for now.  Maybe I will get my studio done today!  I feel inspired!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

wise words

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another thought...

Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
                                                                     ~Joseph Campbell

An email arrived for me today with this quote included and it fits so perfectly with my day today that I have decided to share it with you all here.  Enjoy!

Thought for Today

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you've imagined.

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler;
     solitude will not be solitude,
     poverty will not be poverty,
     nor weakness weakness.

                         Henry David Thoreau

Friday, June 15, 2012

Packing the house!

Well, if you wondered why my blog is sort of haphazard, it is because we are moving!  Cleaning, sorting, packing and all the excitement of digging through drawers normally ignored, for good reason.  So, things are a little more odd here at the homestead. 

My husband, knowing of my struggle with pictures, brought home a slab of shiny black, not being sure if it is granite or marble.  It is very heavy, so it's anyone's guess.  I really like the way it shows off some of my new pieces.

I cannot believe how wonderful it looks, and it shows enough contrast that I can see items clearly which thus far has been hard!   This bracelet with handmade lamp work beads by artist Beth Blosser at Pomegranite Glass may never leave my sight! 

Compare it to the same item on white marble.  Enough said!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party!

A reminder to those who are interested, the Lori Anderson Bead Soup Blog Party is getting ready to start!  Sign ups start tomorrow and are on the Pretty Things blog page.  You can also click the button to the right on my blog which takes you to all you need to know!

Monday, June 11, 2012


 Like nearly every morning since about my 40th birthday, I woke this morning at 3:33 am.  I once tried to figure out how much sleep I was missing compared to the doctor recommended 8 hour a night people.  The math was too complicated for my addled, sleep deprived state of being.

It did take some time for me to adjust to this not sleeping. I had no choice. I did at first try everything and anything that anyone suggested.  Melatonin, Valerian, Benadryl, even Excedrin PM to name a few.  I tried journaling, reading before bed.  Nothing worked.  I have no trouble going to sleep, I just don't stay asleep for very long.

I obligingly  tried some sleep medicines prescribed by my doctor after my husband begged him to do something to make me 'normal' again. He wasn't too fond of the new me.  This man, who falls into bed like a sandbag, already asleep before he hits the pillow for a solid 8-9 hours was losing his grip.  Men of course, like to fix things.  I had become broken in a way that was ravaging everything in our lives.  I was becoming rather Mean.  I actually started to stomp about, constantly angry and frustrated, unable to find a solution and not at all happy with the situation.  I was all kinds of scary.


Some of you may remember the commercial for the Army that came out years ago. It went something like, We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day!   Inspired by this strategy of productivity and adopting it as my own, I would wake, know it would be hopeless to get back to sleep, and fling myself up.  I would clean the house and do the ironing.  I would scrub the kitchen, the doors and floors, the baseboards and even dust imaginary cobwebs.  You could find me on a ladder, swiping the leaves of my banana tree at 4 am.  The only thing the husband-unit requested was that I resist the frenetic urge to vacuum.  That's really not hard to understand.

In the beginning, I seemed to flourish in the fervor of Accomplishment.  I was so proud!  This only lasted a little while as once it's clean, it's done and housework is really not my life's passion.  Mornings like this would be followed by a full day at the office, cooking dinner, maybe some laundry.   I must have exhausted my adrenaline, because I soon began to wane, a total crash immenent on the horizon.

After about a year of this, I moved into a new state of being.  Friends at work would find me at some point in the day, very still, eyes staring fixedly.  It was suspected that I was moving into a new state of daily mundane existence, which they called wide-awake-asleep.  Only I knew I wasn't asleep, only drifting in some sort suspended animation. I heard every word of the conversation when my friends Monika and Julie pronounced me 'coma-tized'.  

After watching my struggle for three years and still wanting desperately to help, my husband purchased a lovely new computer replete with writing software.  He pronounced me ' witty' and thought I should write a book.  At first I was just angry thinking that he was trying to get me to write a best seller and earn money so he could retire!  That was silly and untrue, but my thinking on anything was less than stellar and more often completely irrational!  To this day, I am amazed that he did not bury my body one cold night in the backyard. I had become beyond awful and what was worse, I knew it but seemed to just be losing control of everything.

I tried to write. I came up with ideas, made notes, read how-to books. For about 6 months I threw myself into it, every morning.  Only I couldn't remember from day to day what I had written or where the story was going.  The best character I could compose was addled,  grumpy, sleep deprived and made little conversation.  Not the fodder for a best seller, it bored even me.  And it seemed so familiar.

 Then I heard Wayne Dyer speak to the issue once on a PBS special. This fabulous motivational speaker surmised that if we are being awakened regularly at an early time of the morning, then Spirit was trying to speak to us and we should get out of bed and pay attention!  He was so enthusiastic, I had to try it.  If praying is talking to God, then meditation is listening. I started listening. I still listen, every morning. It's a wonderful thing to be still and silent and be aware of my own heartbeat, the rain, the dog snoring, the owls hooting or to begin to hear the birds at breaking dawn, all carrying messages of the Creator. It did not help my sleep, and if God had an in-your-face message, I was on the wake up call but seemed tuned in to the wrong station.

There are times when I have a feeling I've done this before, and not from some long lost previous incarnated life, but from This One.  I've wondered if this new affliction is because I don't actually sleep long enough for things to enter my long term memory storage.  We took a weekend trip to Charleston and I ate shrimp and grits for what I thought was the first time and loved it.  What I could not escape was the feeling that it really wasn't the first time.  I mentioned it to my husband whose memory clamps on things like a steel trap.  He was quite certain it was not the first time.  He promptly rattled of the name of the previous restaurant, the year, the city, the state. Everything about the meal.  It was hard not to get annoyed with him for being so detailed or with myself for only having a vague feeling of familiarity! 

 So what if we of the sleep deprived don't always remember everything?  All things are made new again in a most unusual way and maybe it becomes a little easier to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the adventure of life.  Certainly there are things that are so delightful that it is a treat to get to experience them again, for the first time.

The years have passed.  Rounding the corner on 51, it seemed to me recently that I had lost something.  I began to understand the gift of this state of the minimal sleepers.  If you ask me about my life, you will hear funny stories, snippets of memories and flashes of insight into a fertile craziness, most from a very unusual point of view.  

I used to be able to remember everything in detail, high definition as it were, maybe better than my husband.  Now things are more selective and I remember best the events that were filled with Love.  Times of great joy and merriment, where people are kind and caring about each other are what I remember best.  The events of the world that carry a freshness, a brilliance and the promise of hope are what fill my memories now.  My perspective has changed just as the struggle and adaptation have changed me physically.  The dark circles under my eyes have lightened, and more laugh lines have cracked the surface of my face.  I see better in the darkness of the wee hours now too, and rarely trip over the dogs, who appreciate this immensely.

So too, the harshness is gone from my memory, all painful experiences somehow are eased with time or forgetfulness to make room for the laughter and the smiles.  Misspoken words, mine or theirs fall away to a place unknown or unrecorded and I no longer carry misery or wounding as those things just are not able to be contained in my mind or heart.  It is easier to just let them go with the short sweet darkness of limited sleep than to save and thrash them about, with me every day.  My memory is not failing, but has become proficient in knowing what matters and making the most of the processing time it is allowed.  In this way I have become more efficient, a product of the long stalemate between the longing for sleep and the morning charge of the awake well before sunrise.


My lingering appreciation is that when the days are so long there is just so much of the world to see, to find, and to explore that it becomes exciting, even overwhelming!   The sheer beauty, the infinite grace and the boundless Love are magnified.   Once I released my sleep frustration and surrendered to this way of being, it opened my heart to receiving the world in a new way. The endless hours of time spent awake transformed into fodder for Inspiration, Creativity and Passion to begin bursting at the seams! 

I don't lie in bed anymore fighting this 4 hour cycle.  Now I wake, filled with excitement and the knowing that I will have more time to do all the things that I want to accomplish in my life.  Once accepting this state of affairs, I also found a new wonder.  Naps!