Friday, July 8, 2016

Modern Beaded Lace

I honestly didn't realize I'd been away so long, but I have a good excuse: I've written a book! It's currently available for pre-order, and will most likely be released by the end of July. You can find it in the Interweave Store, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other places as well.

It's called Modern Beaded Lace and contains 18 projects, as well as information about beaded lace and designing your own projects. It has been my obsession for the past year and a half - sometimes I felt as if I were giving birth to an elephant!

It was a huge project, but I am so happy with the results; holding my own book in my hands is an amazing feeling. It's everything I hoped it would be; you see, I have wanted to write a book since I was a very little girl. I can remember finding out that real people wrote books (I had thought they appeared magically) and from that moment, I wanted to be a writer. I've written a lot over the years, but this book is very special to me, because it's from my heart. I love lace and I love beads, and combining the two makes me very, very happy.

I've started a Facebook group for my readers, and if you are one of the people who have pre-ordered it, look me up on Facebook and you'll see a post about it.

There's a free bonus project in there, and all you have to do to join is post a screenshot of your preorder page (make sure you don't include any personal information!) and I will add you to the group where you can download this free bonus project, titled Romantica.

It's a little extra to get you started while you're waiting for the book to ship!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's here! It's here! It's here!

...and I'm still pinching myself.

Being part of this book means more to me than I can say, and not just because it's a book and I'm in it, but because so many of my favorite people are in here with me.

Reading it is like having all of them in my home for a visit, talking about beads and beading, and sharing our work. From here on out, I will always have this particular moment in time, these wonderful people, and their beautiful work, within reach.

Anytime I want to, I can open it up and be with my friends and our beads. That's the best part.

The name of the book is Marcia De Coster Presents: Interviews with 30 Beaders on Inspiration & Technique (Spotlight on Beading Series) and it's available in all of the usual places. If you love beaders and beadwork, I think you'll really enjoy it. It's not a how-to book (although many of the beaders in it do offer instructions for some of their beadwork on their websites); rather it's a collection of photos of beadwork and interviews with the designers.

Marcia has done a wonderful job of selecting a wide variety of designers, and the questions she asked gave me new insights into each one, even those I thought I knew very well.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their work in this book, and especially, thank you to Marcia DeCoster who made it happen.

I love you all!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Change: making a joyful noise

This is one of my tribes; I claimed my place in it this year. Last year, I hovered on the edge of this tribe; I watched and I listened, but I was afraid to join in. This year, I vowed to change that. This year, I promised myself that I would not shy away; yes, I promised myself that last year, too, but this year I did it. This year, I let myself sing.

It was a wonderful weekend, filled with music, laughter, and fun. We played well together; that was the theme of one of the classes I took, and was I ever thrilled to learn that playing well with others could mean more than just being able to play well. I'm a beginner on the resonator guitar, and although I only contributed a few notes every now and again as we played together, they were good notes, and I added something to the sound. What a kick that was! Next time, I hope to contribute more, but it was so encouraging to be able to contribute even at my level. I had so much fun with my little bit of noise.

I also learned something very important about me. I'm not Joni Mitchell and I never will be. You see, hers is the voice I hear in my head; hers is the voice I want to have. And because I don't have a soaring, rich, resonant, soprano voice, I have always felt that I shouldn't sing out loud. I have worked so hard for so long to find her voice inside of me; when I sang, I concentrated on each note and tried to make it happen. It never did, but I kept trying. And I told myself that I shouldn't sing in front of other people until it did. (Recordings don't count; I can have do-overs when I record, and I can manipulate the tones to fill in where my voice is weak; I can add echo for richness and do all sorts of things to make me sound more like I want to sound.)

This past weekend, I came face to face with those expectations, and even while I mourned that I will never have the voice I want, I realized that I am not without strengths. When I'm not trying to be Joni, I can have fun singing. I can do what I do best; I'm an actress at heart. I can sing very expressively when I concentrate on the words and forget about trying to make each note as good as possible. And I can pull other people into the song when I do that; I can give them that experience. It may not be what I wanted to have, but it's a pretty darn good thing to have.

So: Goodbye, Joni.
Hello, Cindy.

If you love music, write songs (or want to learn how to write them!) consider joining the Summer Songs West tribe. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Down by the riverside, 2013

"I'm gonna lay down my burdens, down by the riverside; down by the riverside, down by the riverside."
 That tune has been running through my head today; not a surprise, it's the last day of 2013, and I'd like to start 2014 with a clean slate. I'd like to lay down the burdens of the old year, and wake up without them. I've not always been able to do that, though; some of the burdens I'm carrying have been with me for several years. I really want to lay them down; I've wanted to lay them down for a long time, but every time I set them down, I run back and pick them up again.

They are burdens of expectations.

Not mine entirely; these are expectations that someone else had of me; expectations that I either could not, or would not, fulfill; and I want the other person to take them back. I want them to to tell me that it's okay, that they understand that I could not do what they wanted me to do; I want them to tell me that they no longer need me to do those things, that they have forgiven me for not being what they wanted me to be.

And so, the circle revolves again. They are upset with me for not being who they wanted me to be, and I am upset with them for not being who I want them to be. Round and round we go; each needing the other to be what they are not in order to be okay with each other, in order to lay down our burdens of expectations. Each wanting more than the other can, or will, give. Each carrying burdens of hurt feelings, lost hopes, and uneasiness.

And then the second verse of the song kicks in:
"I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside."
…and I realize that it's not enough to lay down my burdens. I must lay down my defenses, too.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Post-Encyclopedic Apocalypse

When I was a little girl, everything I wanted to know could be found in the World Book Encyclopedia, the newspaper, or by listening to Walter Cronkite. These were trusted sources, and I knew I could count on them to tell me the truth.

The encyclopedia had history, science, and all sorts of interesting things in it; if they made a mistake, or discovered something new to add to a selection, it was published in the yearbooks they sent to us every year. I loved putting the stickers on the appropriate pages and reading the new, or corrected, information; I liked knowing that even people who wrote encyclopedias learned new things and didn't hesitate to let the rest of us know.

When our newspaper found an inaccuracy in a story, it printed a retraction where people could easily see it. When Cronkite made a mistake, he corrected it with a sincere apology while looking right into our eyes.

I grew up, the world changed, and information became available at the click of a mouse. I taught my own children not to trust sources; I taught them to question, to compare, to narrow in on the truth and discount repetition as a propaganda tool. I think they've gotten pretty good at doubt, as have I.

It's a survival skill, and we are survivors.

I like the wide variety of fact and opinion available to me, and I wouldn't want to go back to those limited sources. But, often, I miss the scrutiny they were under; I miss the attention to detail, the drive on their part to get it right, the emphasis on providing factual information. They tried to eliminate bias; even though they didn't always succeed, it was their goal. If they fell short, their readers and listeners reminded them to try harder. Information runs the gamut now; some of it is very well researched, filled with facts, and as trustworthy as ever. Some of it is not, and it's becoming increasingly hard to know what to believe.

Sometimes, even doubt isn't enough.