Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Dennis!

Dennis is 56 y.o. today, Happy Birthday! This pose is one I see every day, working at the end of the kitchen table, going over lecture notes or copy editing a paper, with a cup of tea to sustain him. No snow today, but the sun is out in celebration!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Family Photo

My family, Thanksgiving, 2010. Sam, Susan, Dennis, and Jason. As much as I love beading, my family is my main vocation, avocation, and first love.

Anne Hesse Doll collaboration

I took a wonderful class with Anne Hesse on doll making. During the class, I discovered that I wasn't a dollmaker, so I created the doll as a collaboration with my dear friend, Kathie, and gifted the doll to her. I made the face, put the bunches of ribbon together, and she did everything else, including securing the face to a weighted backing, attaching the face to the doll, putting the ribbon on the doll, the hair, and attaching the arms.

A close up of the doll.

Isn't she gorgeous!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Turquoise and Lime Green

One day when I was reading Marcia DeCoster's blog she just happened to mention turquoise and lime green. A little lightbulb went off in my head. Those are my two favorite colors. I often combine them with fuchsia, sometimes bronze, or navy, but usually I just like the colors together.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Bead Journal Project

I had high expectations for the third year of my Bead Journal Project. Rather than beading a mandala shape, I decided to bead on felt in a rectangular shape. I started with some needle felting of bright colors, representing the happiness of starting a new project, then surrounded them with black and white, representing the low contrast of color in winter in Michigan.

Well, winter in Michigan can be pretty bleak, as is my piece above.

I always dream of sun in March. In the past I've often gone away for a week in March to someplace that is supposed to be sunny. This past March my husband and I went to Miami and then took a 4 day cruise. It was freezing, overcast, very little sun. The waves were so high we couldn't even go to one of our destinations, which was (supposed) to be a gorgeous beach with turquoise water. Didn't do much for my mental health.

I tried to think of soft colors in anticipation of spring. But I was still feeling the depression of the lack of sun in March, so the sequins and black beads represent feeling down. Notice, though, that I was still trying to be optimistic, as the sequins are very shiny.

And that's as far as I got for 2010. I was not inspired to continue. I wanted to keep the depression at bay, and I didn't want to bead it or explore it further.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Retreat Photos

Every year we make our hostess, Donna, a group present. This year we made triangle beads using delicas. We chose a palette that we thought she would like and each of us made about 7 beads of various sizes. Donna likes big, and this bracelet fits the bill.

Our friend Pat couldn't be with us this year since she has been in the hospital since August 2nd. While we were on the retreat we made her this prayer doll. Each of us wrote a message to Pat on ribbon and used them to stuff the doll.
This is the back of the doll. We just learned a few days ago that Pat is coming home today, what a blessing. Pat is one of those people that makes your life better just by knowing her. She is kind, talented, friendly to everyone. She takes time to talk with you. She listens. Her art work is beautiful, whether it's beading or basketry. She is an amazing woman who has had the bad luck to have gotten cancer, but is fighting it with commitment and grace. I hope our little doll puts a smile on her face and lets her know how much we care for her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall is Gorgeous this year

We are having a gorgeous fall this year. The colors are spectacular. The weather has been very warm, although I suspect the temps will start to fall soon enough. As I was working yesterday, I was distracted by this view out my window. I don't really see as much of the houses as this picture shows, but otherwise all you would see is my computer, and believe me, the work I do is so boring it would put you to sleep - I often have to take a nap because it puts me to sleep! Hey, it pays the bills, and there are days like yesterday when I can enjoy this magical view.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bead Retreat 2010

For the last 7 years my bead group has gone on a retreat to one of our member's homes in Petoskey, Michigan. We bead, laugh, eat a lot of good food, stay up late, bead some more, sometimes knit. We always have a great time and this year was no exception. The weather was cool and sunny, just perfect. Why no people in my pictures? Seems like every time I went to photograph someone they were in their jammies!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I store all my beads in plastic bins - all different sizes, shapes,and designs. Every now and then I go through my "project" bins, where I have put together combinations of beads for a particular project, or colors I like, or beads in anticipation of a pattern in a magazine. And then I look through them and change my mind, or can't remember what the project was I had in mind, or realize I'm never going to finish what I started. So I empty the bins and (eventually) put all the beads away so they'll be in my general stash. Projects that are started go into my unfinished projects bins, where perhaps they'll enjoy a second life down the road, or provide color or design inspiration, or just sit and bead happy.

Have a super day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Gallery Pieces Sold

I originally sent 9 pieces of jewelry to the gallery, then sent 3 more, now the owner has asked for more because there are only 3 pieces left! There's only a month left to her season, so I'm going to get some more out on Monday.

I was doing this as a one time thing. I was curious if I could rise to the occasion, meet the goal of making many pieces. I am pleasantly surprised that they have sold, amazed actually. Now I feel motivated to work during the winter on new pieces, and I think I can stop questioning whether I am a bead artist or not. Always that little censor sitting on my shoulder saying my work isn't good enough, it's not as creative, or intricate, or original as other beaders work. I think I can quell that voice now.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Sam and Jason hiking at Glacier National Park. They had a great vacation, look at that beautiful land.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's been busy

Sam, above, in his big U-Haul, going to college 1 hour away.

Jason, ready for his long drive to Penn State in his small car.

What a busy week we've had here. Last week Dennis and the boys were on their annual father/son vacation and during that time Jason found out that the apt. he leased last May had bed bugs, very persistent ones, because they were still there after 3 exterminations. So with Jason in Montana, and his new roommate from Massachusetts, we worked to find a new apt. His roommate and parents drove to State College and I provided telephone support. Not much to choose from at this time of summer, but we managed to find a place. The only problem, it wasn't going to be ready until today, and Jason started orientation this past Monday. He still went, slept on a friends couch, and hopefully has moved in today.

Sam packed up a U-Haul yesterday and we moved him into an apt. at Michigan State. When we arrived we found out that the apt. wasn't ready. So we bought his books (don't even ask how much law textbooks cost), we went to Comcast so he could have internet connection, and the apt. still wasn't ready. The landlord let him move his stuff into a different apt. temporarily and he slept on a couch at a friend's.

Two boys gone off to college in one week, the house is quiet, feels empty, a little lonely. But there is so much more space, too!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nothing like a good book

My husband is gone for the week at a conference in Toronto. Then the next week he and the boys are going to Glacier National Park. I am used to being alone, but not without a good book! I've been to the library, the bookstores, and everything I pick up I put back down. So this morning I was heartened to see that the new Tana French book is in transit to my local library branch. I will not be so alone after all. And if you haven't read Tana French, she has 2 previous novels out, they are fantastic, and you will be happy to be curled up with a good companion.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gallery Pieces

Four pieces of my jewelry have been sold at the gallery in New York! Wow!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another kit project

Another kit completed - I hope I previously mentioned that this is my summer project, working on kits. Above is a kit from Fusion Beads, called a Queen's Ransom. I have actually changed a few of the colors, to keep them bright and in my palette.

I have a few pair of earrings to show, but all the photos I take of them are fuzzy, even with the tripod. Any suggestions for getting a clear photo?

I am currently working on a kit that is making me nuts! It's another one I've had for years and I always thought it would be fairly easy to make, although requiring some time. Not so...the directions are terrible, terrible. There are no counts given, so you have to figure out where the decreases in the pattern are from a diagram. You have to make a lot of little leaves, but there is no clue how to do this - do you make them and then attach them? do you make them as you are beading? The leaves are made from delicas and two colors of 15's, but they are all so close in tone that you can hardly separate them. Same goes for the beads around the cabochon, two shades of pink that you can't distinguish between. So I have taken apart sections of the beading and started over several times. It's only because I've been beading so long that I can get a sense of what's supposed to happen, but it only gets clearer after I've made mistakes. Yikes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some More Beading Projects

Above is a double Jitterbug bracelet. You can see a single row of the bracelet below. This bracelet was originally a kit from Glass Garden Beads. The bracelet that is diagonally draped over the two bracelets below is the actual kit. I made a couple more bracelets using bright, summery, and colorful beads. I love color!

The heat wave has ended, although it is sticky and humid out. But at least you don't feel like you're swimming through the humidity anymore, and you can breathe easier.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Beading Photos

It's been a long time, but I do have some new bead projects to show. Above and below are my entry for next year's Beading for a Cure. This is a project that raises money for colorectal cancer. Every participant buys the same kit and we have to use at least one of every bead in the kit, plus we can add one bead. My added bead is the beige pearl. I also added two rivolis for the earrings, but they are not considered a bead, since they do not have a hole in them.

Next is a very fun bracelet, originally based on a kit by Glass Garden Beads. I made a double strand and this bracelet is sparkly!

Another variation of the bracelet, a firepolish and pearl double strand bracelet. I love the subtle colors of this one. You may recognize it as one I made for the gallery.

The lariat, below, is design by Gail Frederickson, one of my favorite local teachers. She taught this at our Guild's local teacher classes. I love the beaded beads!

Finally, a right angle weave bracelet with 3 different colors of firepolish. Turquoise and lime green are among my favorite colors, toned down a bit with the brown seed beads. You saw this bracelet as a work in progress on my beading tray a few entries ago.

I am currently going through kits that I have and making the project in them. So far I have made or completed 3 last week and 2 this week, including the 2-strand bracelets above. Photos to come on the rest of the projects when they are done.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. We are in the midst of a heat wave, hot and humid.

Good weather to stay inside and bead! Stay cool!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jason's graduation continued....

I always like to have my picture taken with the boys - I suppose no matter how old they are I'll still refer to them that way.
My mother came from Arizona with her husband. They were great sports about the weather, but I think they were very happy to be on the airplane going home this morning. My mother has been to every graduation of her grandsons', including my sister's two boys. Next year she'll have Sam's law school graduation from Michigan State as well. We'll put in an advance order for better weather, mom!

Jason's Graduation

Jason graduated from Michigan State University this past weekend, with a degree in mathematics. Most of the photos we took came out blurred, but here are a few of the happy graduate. Go Green!
Magic Johnson graduated from MSU, and it seems a lot of students like their pictures taken with this statute of him, Jason included. You can see that it was a cloudy day. It was freezing out, rainy, windy, bbbrrrrr. It even hailed at one point! That's May in Michigan for you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gallery Pieces

The pieces on top are the ones I have sent to the gallery. I had to balance out the
time/money/value aspect of the pieces with ones I felt I could sell. I know you've seen most of these pieces before, but I added a few different ones to the mix. To see the gallery go to You can click on Artists to see some of the other exhibitioners and their work.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Big Reveal

The Big Reveal winners were announced today in Scarlett Lanson's 4th Use the Muse contest. This is a wonderful contest in which everyone purchases the same kit and then designs an entry based on a special item, the "Big Reveal." Beaders from all over the world participate and it is so much fun to see what wonderful and inspiring pieces are made.

I have participated in the last two contests, but didn't play in this one. I don't know how long Scarlett will keep doing this contest, but I encourage everyone to join if you can. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

University of Michigan Commencement

We had the privilege of President Obama giving the commencement address at the University of Michigan today. He gave a wonderful speech in which he encouraged people to be "nicer" to each other, to listen to other points of view, to appreciate the fact that we can have different opinions in a democracy. He said that change doesn't come easily or quickly, but that historically the people of our country have always responded to change that safeguards and protects our well-being.

And then...I look at the blurb on the Internet about his speech, and almost every single one of the 11,000 comments were negative, ugly, anti-Obama, anti-government. People don't want to listen to what other people have to say, the just want to hear themselves talk, and talk ugly.

How disappointing. How sad. I fear for the future of our democracy when people are so disrespectful, so filled with hate, and so fueled by their self-righteousness and selfishness.

To all the graduates of 2010, including my son Jason, you are our future, please keep your hearts and minds open, please build on the friendships and understanding of other cultures, races, religions, and sexuality that you have grown up with and nurtured in college, so that our world can learn from what you can teach us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jewelry for the Gallery

Here is an intial picture of the jewelry I have made for the gallery in New York. However, I'm not going to send most of it, because I realize that the owner wants to sell the work at a lower price than I suggested to her for most pieces. Actually, I came up with a price based on a formula she shared, but the prices came out shockingly high. That's beadwork for you. It's so time-consuming that you just can't make money selling it. So I have reorganized what I am going to send and taken the more expensive pieces out. I don't have good pictures yet of what I'm substituting, so that will be another day.

If anyone has any thoughts on what you would pay for these pieces, or as a beader, what you would price them at, I'd be happy for you to share them!!!

End of the School Year

Our boys have been sharing an apt. this past academic year, but the lease is up soon, Jason is graduating, Sam is moving to another apt., and we decided to make a trip to start bringing stuff home.

I love getting pictures of my three men together - left to right is Jason, the graduate (math, with honors), Dennis, the aerospace engineer professor, and Sam, the law student.

Beading Areas

When I read Marcia DeCoster's blog this morning, she referred to Bev Herman's blog about what her beading tray looks like. I believe several readers then took pictures of their beading trays, including me! The top photo is the coffee table next to where I sit, and the bottom photo is my beading tray. I'm working on several projects at once and kind of push things into the corner when I'm done or going to work on it soon. I am making a right angle weave/square stitch bracelet with fire polish beads in a quilt-like design. I made one, and then decided there was too much thread showing. This is definitely an influence of my friend Deb, who can't bear the idea of thread showing. She won't even do certain stitches because you can see the thread. It never used to bother me, but now that I have found a thread I like, One-G, I'm getting to like the thread to match the beads more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I have been doing all winter

I feel like my blog has gone through a period of drought. But in fact I have been beading more than ever all winter long. I have been making pieces for a gallery that is open for the summer months. I will take pictures the next day we have sun here, hopefully tomorrow!

This is what I have learned. Making jewelry that I think other people will like is very hard. Making jewelry that doesn't have thread showing, or looped over a bead, or cut down to the edge is very hard. For every one piece that I am satisfied with, I have usually made 4 or 5 other pieces. I have worked every day since January and feel I have very little to show for the hours I have devoted to making the jewelry. I don't feel it represents the best work I can do, and I am sure I am overly critical of myself.

In terms of the time and effort I have put into the projects, I will not earn a cent. But I hope the gallery will! In order to do this work, I stopped reading, am behind on my Bead Journal Project, and was unable to complete the most recent round of Use the Muse contest.

However, I really wanted to do this. I wanted to see if I could meet the challenge, really a personal challenge, of committing to something and following through on it. When I post the pictures, I will be curious to see what the feedback is. Until then....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meeting BJP members

I've had the privilege of meeting two Carol's recently. Above is Carol from Of Beads and Birds, whom I'm sure many of you know because she posts such nice thoughts on our blogs. She lives in Indiana and I was there the other night visiting family. So we arranged to meet, and we had a great visit! Carol is on the left and I am on the right.

A few days earlier I met another Carol, but we didn't take any photos :). I noticed from her blog that she lives in the same community that I do, so I contacted her and we were able to meet. I went to her house and met her two adorable children plus her husband. Carol is incredibly artistic and I was in awe of her talent.

Two Carol's, two great bead journal artist's, and two wonderful people, what more could one ask for?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Debbie's blog give-a-way

Debbie is a new blogger and is having a blog give-a-way. Check out her site.

I've not had my regular computer for a several weeks now, while it's being de-bugged for viruses, so I haven't posted, since I don't want to introduce any new viruses on this computer. I've been beading non-stop for weeks now, and once again most things are ending up in my UFO bin. But I am determined that there is meaning in this struggle I am having. That I will somehow plow through whatever blocks I am having and begin to generate ideas, designs, color combo's, and actual pieces.

I'm still not reading - tried the books on tape thing and found it too distracting - I had to listen too hard, and I'm actually finding myself not missing them. This is actually a good place for me to be in. Without the distraction of daydreaming through books, playing detective to mysteries, I'm focusing on one of my goals for the year, to really push my beading and see where it takes me.

I'm also having a "C is for Challenge Month." C as in fewer calories, no chocolate, no cake, no cookies, no candy, fewer carbs, but yes to carrots, creativity, control, and cardio. Oh, also no coffee. The cravings are still there, but I just keep telling myself no C's this month. I'm hoping to feel better at the end of the month, more energetic, and maybe will have lost a pound or two so I can get back on track with weight loss. I haven't started my February BJP yet, but I bet you can guess the theme! Can you think of any more C's that might help motivate and inspire me?

And my reward for the C month - a 4 night cruise full of (hopefully) sunshine and warm temperatures. In preparation, I am studying how to use my Canon camera. I got one of those Canon books for dummies, and I've now correctly set up my camera. Marching right along....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Different Kind of Reading

I was reading Susan E's blog and she mentioned listening to a book on tape. Lightbulb! That's how I can still read books and bead. Thanks, Susan, for planting the suggestion in my mind!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I love to read, always have. I love books, holding them, turning the pages, reading words that become stories. Ten years ago, when I did the Artist's Way, there was a week of not reading. I never thought I would be able to not read for a week. Much to my surprise, I found myself so productive in other areas that I didn't read for 6 months. I'm at a point now where I'm going to eliminate most reading from my daily life. I made a rough calendar of this year, and realized that if I want to accomplish my artistic goals, in addition to my regular work and responsibilities, something is going to have to be cut. So I will still keep a list of books I want to read, especially as favorite authors release new books, but will save them for later.

Among my favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Susan Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Aimee and David Thurlo, Margaret Coel, Steven Torres, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Louise Penny, Archer Mayor, Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George, Peter Robinson, Charles Todd, Karin Slaughter, Donna Leon, Andrea Camilleri, and John Lescroart. As you can tell, I like mysteries.

Here's to making room for my art!