Monday, December 31, 2007


New Year's Eve always feels a bit off to me. I'm ready to put the old year to bed; I'm ready to be done with it. But I can't start the new one until tomorrow; this year isn't quite over. So I'm just messing around, not really starting anything new, not wanting to give any more of my efforts to 2007.

I'm ready for the new-and-improved 2008 me.

What an optimist I am! I know, rationally, that I will not wake up tomorrow with any more abilities or skills than I have today; but, somehow, I still expect that I will. My designs will be fresher tomorrow, my execution cleaner, my results prettier.

No sense in starting something today; tomorrow it will be a New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Riveting news

Um-hmm, I'm thinking cold connections. It's something I've been dancing around for quite awhile now; I'm not sure I'm actually going to give it a go, but I'm thinking about it. I'm not as comfortable with my hammer as I should be; sometimes I slip. That's okay when I'm working metal; I can always file or pound a bit more to disguise my oopsies; but riveting things together, especially things that break when hit with a hammer, requires precision.

And a light touch, I fear.

I'm a bull in a china shop; I plow through and make things happen by whatever means necessary. More heat, more solder, and file off the odd spot; that's my credo.

Holding things together with single piece of wire and a few taps of a hammer scares me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

End of year compulsion

What is it about the ending of a year? I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but the week between Christmas and New Year's day always finds me wanting to organize something. This year, it was my jump rings. They didn't start out to be a mess; they just gradually turned into one. At first, I only felt comfortable with one weave, so I had a few rings cut in the sizes I needed, and they were easy to contain in labeled little plastic bags. They lived in my silver findings box, and things were fine.

For awhile.

But then I wanted to learn different weaves; I wanted to try them in different gauges; and with every piece I made, there were rings left over. Each size went into a little plastic bag, but pretty soon, the collection of little plastic bags outgrew the findings box. No problem; I put all the little bags into a larger bag and stuck it in my drawer.

But then, finding the size I needed started to get difficult. I had to dump all the little bags out of the big bag and look at each one to find the one I needed. Sometimes I didn't find it, so I cut some new rings, labeled a new bag, and dumped the leftovers in the big bag when I was finished. Pretty soon, I had too many little bags, some of them repeats.

Enter my year-end need to organize. Ahhhhh, the big bag is history, and all the little bags are tucked into pockets and neatly hung (ordered by metal, gauge, and size) from binder rings in a cute little 4x6 file card binder. I can flip right to the rings I need; and if they're not there, I know in a minute that it's time to cut.

Life is good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Effect

Opulent, but not necessarily ornate.  Well, that's what I think, anyway.  I finished the moonstone necklace a few minutes ago; it's choker length with lots of silver and pearls.  It's in the art nouveau style with a bow towards renaissance jewelry and it's pure decadence.  

The centerpiece is a large moonstone cabochon with swirls and balls of silver surrounding it; the main portion of the necklace is Japanese two-in-one maille with large pearls inside of even larger silver rings.  Three sections of smaller pearls alternating with little square silver beads swoop around and below the moonstone, enclosing a dangling large pearl and a tiny crystal.

I'm sitting up straighter just now because I'm wearing it.  

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Left turn!

So what did I do yesterday? Pretty much right after noticing that I was on a simple wire-wrapping kick? Yup, I took a left turn, and found myself in an opulent, Art Nouveau-Renaissance sort of mood. I really don't think that there is a lot of point in trying to catalog my own trends; the minute I notice I'm having one, I lose it altogether.  I seem to be highly resistant to keeping my trends!

But, no matter. I'd made a couple of moonstone links with lots of swirls and balls of silver quite some time ago; I used one for a bracelet, but then I lost momentum and put the other one in my tray to wait awhile.  It came out yesterday, and it is going to be a necklace with heavy silver links and pearls.  Maybe some Renaissance-y swirls and drapes; I haven't decided yet.

It isn't ornate, well, at least not yet, but it sure is opulent.  So I'll leave it at that, and see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Who knew? Suddenly I'm interested in wrapping wire again. No, not the extravagant wraps popularized by so many other wire artists (though you never know what I'll want to do tomorrow); I'm making discreet little wraps that are more involved with holding things together than with making a statement. Earrings, mostly. Quick little pretty things. And I'm getting some ideas for wraps and coils that go with bezels, strictly as design elements.

And for the New Year, I see organic possibilities: my mother and my sister both gifted me with leaf beads this year. My sister sent impossibly delicate and tiny antique, etched, pressed-glass leaves; and my mother found bold, gorgeously carved, gemstone leaves. Flowers, vines, and fairy circlets are teasing me; pearls? briolettes? silver lace?

Ah, what fun. I love the moment when everything is possible and nothing is decided.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It's a bright shiny day here; yesterday's storm has blown away and left us with blue skies and temps above freezing. It just doesn't get any better than that! Most of the snow and ice has melted, leaving just patches of white on the ground. I've half a mind to grab my camera and head out; I'm always saying that I want to do some winter shoots, but I never seem to go. I'm afraid I'm just not too fond of being outside, tramping around, when it's cold!

But, whatever we end up doing today, it's a beautiful Christmas Eve here. I hope it is equally beautiful where you are, and I hope that you, too, will take a moment to think about what you are thankful for on this day. My heart is full today; I hope yours is as well.

Peace and love to you on this Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Diamonds in the rough

I've been really attracted to uncut diamonds lately; I've bid on a few, but the price has gone higher than I want to pay. I will either get out of this mood, or I will become accustomed to the price and end up paying it. I have already noticed that in each auction that I lose, I have stayed in longer, and bid higher than in the previous one.

It is a waiting game.

But, since I really don't know enough about diamonds to judge them, I don't miss the ones that get away. There is always another lot to catch my eye - and my bids - and, sad to say, they all look pretty much the same to me. I guess that's why I'm reluctant to bid high enough to buy; I just don't know enough to know what I'm getting!

But it's fun to hope I'll get some for a song. Tra la la la la!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Playing around

I was working so hard to make all the Christmas gifts I wanted to give, that now I've sort of crashed. I'm just fooling around, cutting rings, weaving a bit; nothing with any aim or direction. Certainly nothing that needs sustained thought or action.

Earrings, yes; I've made a whole bunch of earrings over the past few days. I love to make earrings; they go so quickly and even the simplest ones look good. I'm certainly testing the theory that one can never have too many earrings.

Today I'm playing with Jens Pind in silver and gold combined; I'm certain there is some way to exploit the spiral aspect of it, but I'm not finding it. Still and all, it's very pretty. Who could ask for more than that?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's a Wrap

This morning I wrapped up the Christmas presents and put them under the tree. It looks so pretty!

And it feels so good to have that chore finished. I realized with a start, when I put the last package under the tree, that I'm ready for Christmas. I'll have to go to the grocery store to get the roast for our Christmas Eve dinner, but other than that, there is nothing that I need do but enjoy it.

I think I'll go put some Christmas music on and start now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quiet time

It's been a turbulent time chez nous, and I'm longing for peace.

I'm treasuring the rare moments of silent understanding; hours of acceptance and trust are more valuable to me than diamonds. Hope is a shining star on our horizon; one we must protect and cherish. I expect it is that way for many others; despite fears and very real events, hope keeps us putting one foot in front of the other, hope wakes us up in the morning and gets us out of bed.

Every day I try to find a quiet time to nourish my own hopes; I wish that for you, as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Clean up, clean up

Everybody, do your share! Although Barney is long gone from our lives, that song lingers in my mind. This morning was clean up day; Christmas Eve is a week away! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and although some things remain to be done (decorating the tree, the most notable of those!) we got a lot done this weekend.

Of course, that also means that a lot of clutter was left behind; and this morning I addressed that. Nope, no one helped me, but that's okay. They weren't here to get in my way, either. Their stuff has been delivered to their rooms, and they can deal with it later. I am done and enjoying a last cup of coffee in my nice clean house.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

eBay and me

So it's a kick. I love to find neat things, make a bid and then walk away.

Okay, sometimes I watch.

Occasionally, I even bid again.

But most of the time, I just put in a number and wait until the auction is over to see if I get lucky. I've got two auctions ending tonight; one I might watch and see the end of, the other I definitely won't. I'll be asleep long before it ends, and, unless someone outbids me early, I won't know until tomorrow if I'm getting it or not.

Do you think I'll get lucky tonight?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Living it all, giving it all

Patience is not my strong suit; neither is moving slowly. I always laugh to myself whenever people look at my work and say, "You must have a lot of patience!" I don't, and I doubt that I ever will. My theme song is from Queen:
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!

I won't deny that many of the things I make take a lot of time to finish, but it isn't patience that keeps me going.

Nope, it's desire. I want to make the things I make, I want to make them more than I want to do anything else, at least at that moment. If I didn't, I wouldn't do it. If I couldn't feel it, couldn't see it happening, I wouldn't do it. I work fast. I work hard. And I like it that way.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shoveling out

You knew it was coming, didn't you? So did I, so did I.

The kids, lucky dogs, went off to school at the usual time, so hubby and I took to our shovels and freed up the van. That was one heavy mess! Not too deep, thankfully, but very, very wet. In some places it was so dense that it came up in chunks.

I'm feeling it now. Thank goodness we only had to get the one car out; the rest of the driveway can stay covered until it melts, as far as I'm concerned!

And the picture? That was seven years ago. I haven't seen grins like that after shoveling snow for quite awhile now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wintery mix

You name it, we've had it today: snow, sleet, ice, rain and back again, more than once, actually. It's a slippery, sloppy mess out there. But I'm not out there; I'm snug and warm in front of the fire with my tapestry work. I was out there, earlier, getting in some wood, but I'm inside now. And I'm staying inside.

A few minutes ago I thought about going outside and shoveling the driveway, but I decided not to. It can wait. We don't have anywhere to go today. And I really do appreciate having a nice warm fire and a good roof over my head.

I'm very thankful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Through a glass, darkly

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, — They kill us for their sport.
-King Lear Act IV, Scene 1

Anyone remember reading Lord of the Flies? I must have been about 15 or 16 when I read it, and I found it seriously disturbing. So disturbing, in fact, that I had a hard time remembering enough details to pass the test on it. I wanted to put it out of my mind as quickly as possible; if it hadn't been assigned reading, I never would have finished it. It gave me nightmares for quite a long time; it still makes me shudder just to think about it.

So why am I bringing it up now?

Recently, I had cause to do some excavating into the dark underbelly of the teen world on MySpace. I know, on the surface, it simply looks like a fun way for teens to express themselves and have fun chatting with their friends. And for many, that's exactly what it is. But for others, it is a world unto itself, a world as dark as anything Jack could ever imagine.  Perhaps it is just pretend; no more real than the novel that disturbed me so.

Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Picky, picky, picky

OK; I'm not a kid anymore. I'm not quite old yet, but I sure am getting there. There are good things and bad things about getting older. One of the best, for me, anyway, is an increasingly relaxed attitude about things. Oddly enough, the older I get, the more I embrace imperfection. When I was younger, I really needed to be right. It mattered horribly to me, and I died a thousand deaths if gasp! someone pointed out a real, or imagined, error. Especially a small one that really didn't matter. Those were the worst.

Now I just find it mildly annoying. Probably because I know that when I was younger, I was just as ridiculous; I pounced on other peoples' errors and flaunted my superiority with the best of them. And that's still a tad embarrassing.

I guess I'm not quite old enough yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slow down, you move too fast

You know how sometimes someone can say something and it morphs into another idea in your head? I had one of those today, and it made me think about maybe trying to slow down a little. I'm a madwoman when I work; I always have been. Full concentration, and speed, baby, speed! I love working on the fly, going wherever my materials lead. It's exciting and it's fun.

But there are other ways to work.

And a chance comment got me thinking about that today. I wonder what would happen if I slowed down?

I can't guarantee I'm going to find out anytime soon; but it's a thought.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Yup, we beat the predicted ice storm (which was late, and is currently rain, not ice, hurrah!) and got our Christmas tree. It is gorgeous and scenting the whole house. I'm sitting here, on the couch in front of a lovely fire, just breathing it in. All of the gifts that need to be shipped are wrapped and packed; they will go to the Post Office tomorrow. I have a couple more projects that I'd like to finish before Christmas; but nothing huge, and it feels so good to be able to relax!

This year, I am not obsessing with the decorating; if it gets up, well and good, if it doesn't, that's ok too. I must find the kids' stockings, though; that's non-negotiable. But anything else is gravy.

Jingle Bells, anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2007


OK, it's been crazy. Actually, it's been beyond crazy. But it's beginning to slow down, and not a moment too soon. I have been putting too many irons in the fire and keeping too many balls in the air; today I decided that it's time to sit down and decide what's really important.

So I'm simplifying things. Letting go of some of the details that would be pretty but aren't actually necessary; settling for getting the important things done and letting the rest go by.

Deep breath.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bringing in the wood

There is something very elemental about heating with wood; it is a very labor intensive process, and it really makes me appreciate the warmth it puts out. We farm out the growing, harvesting, cutting and splitting part; our wood arrives in a large truck mid-September. The bed of the truck lifts high into the air and dumps it with a great clatter into a tall pile; we haul it to the wood shed and stack it neatly from there.

We actually have several wood sheds; two on the side of the garage, one out the back door, and a very attractive wood holder just out the kitchen door. The one out the kitchen door is on the porch; it's covered, and it's my bad-weather emergency stash. I hardly ever use it, preferring to wait until really bad weather hits; usually I take the wheelbarrow out to one of the outlying sheds, load it up, and put it on the porch for easy access.

A good wheelbarrow load will fill my inside wood box twice; we go through nearly that much in a day. So I haul in a load of wood pretty much every day. I don't mind; it keeps me in shape. And I'd much rather be getting a workout by keeping my family warm than by going to a gym.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let it snow

The first snowfall of the season is always pretty; it has been long enough since last winter's snows that we no longer remember the drudgery of shoveling and only see the pristine beauty of the landscape.

We're having that first real snowfall now; we have had a few flurries, but this is the first one that actually covers the ground. It isn't supposed to last; in fact, it's predicted to turn to ice and rain by tomorrow. But today we're enjoying it; today it is covering the earth with a soft blanket of white and sticking thickly to the branches, making the yard look like a postcard.

I hope you will enjoy it with me!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Clearing out the cobwebs

I just spent the morning on a search and destroy mission; I've been head down on a jewelry making binge all month, and, while I was working, so were the spiders. They weave every bit as diligently as I do! But no more; they've been evicted, and my living room is shiny and clean. It looks so nice!

It had gotten so bad, I had my daughter bring in the shop vac. We call it R2D2™ because it looks like the character from Star Wars™ and it's every bit as useful. I can vacuum in record time without worrying about it getting clogged.

I'll be back to jewelry soon, but hopefully, I won't neglect my chores in December quite as badly as I did in November.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Inspiration trip

Today I wanted to find some inspiration, so I took a trip over to The Mexican Shack. It's a wonderful store, just filled with handcrafted jewelry and Southwestern style goodies. It's a great place to buy jewelry, should you be in the market for unusual pieces; they have great prices and things you won't see in most stores. It's also a great place to jump start creativity, should you be in the market for that.

Which I was. It's no secret that I've been cranking lately; I'm so far behind on taking pictures and writing stories that I could suffer a huge dry spell and still have something new to put up every week for several months. But, in spite of my recent burst of production, I woke up feeling a little stale this morning.

I'm feeling very fresh now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fun, fun, fun

After yesterday's precision soldering headache, I decided to give myself a fun, melting metal morning. I made a fused and soldered clasp; It's funky, it's textured, and, best of all, it's my favorite way to work. Blast furnace time. Melt, hammer, melt some more. File and sand, tumble, polish. Woohoo!

The bracelet is Euro 4-in-1 with a fabulous focal bead by Donna Millard of Fyrebeadz. This bead makes me think of something found in an archaeological dig; it looks positively Roman. I made the maille very lacy and it just slinks around my wrist. The clasp echos the bead with its spirals and dots; I am so pleased with this one, and I had so much fun making it.

Nope, no photo yet; but in a few days, pop over to Jewelry Tales and I'm sure you'll know which one I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The little things

...are sometimes the most difficult. Today I made a pendant, a very simple design, but it sure did give me fits. It had to be soldered precisely, and precise isn't my strong suit. I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants sort of solderer; I like to let my designs develop as they will; I like to be surprised by how things end up. I love the adventure and discovery of learning as I go and traveling without a map.

But not today. Nope, today I had a very strong idea of where I wanted to go, and I got there. It took a little filing, but I got there.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Too much information

Uh huh, that's what you're getting today!

I have to buy new jeans. Here's the good news: I've lost some weight, and the old ones are too big. I've been affecting the gangsta boy look with my pants falling down and it's not pretty. The bad news? I have again waited until my jeans have holes in embarrassing places, and I'm down to one functional pair.

Which needs washing.

So I will hie myself off to Wal-Mart today and see what evils lurk in the jeans department. I am sincerely hoping that low rise jeans are OUT (is it really sad that I don't already know this?) and I'll be able to find jeans with an actual waistband. I'd promise to keep you posted, but I'm quite sure this is more than you already want to know about my wardrobe!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beads, glorious beads!

Hello, my name is Cindy and I'm a lampwork bead addict.

I've already got too many, and yes, I want even more. Every time I see new beauties from my favorite artists, I just want to hold them. I love the colors, the textures, the translucency; oh, my, they are even prettier than gems.

And more expensive, some of them.

Oh, not that they are not worth it; not that the artists who create them don't deserve to be compensated for their gorgeous work; no, it's just that I cannot afford to buy them all. I buy as many as I can, but oh, I covet even more. Keep making those pretty little things, all you wonderful glass artists; you add such joy and beauty to my world.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pliers, pliers, who's got the pliers?

I love tools. I'm always looking at them in stores, and every once in awhile I decide that something is just exactly what I need. Today, my daughter found a lovely small pair of flat nose pliers in a Hobby Shop; they are only about 2mm wide at the tips, and come to a very fine point. I can hold wire with them and see what I'm doing!

Do you know how exciting that is?

I know, I know: you're probably laughing at me. I'm laughing, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taking pictures

In order to take pictures, I must first clear off my desk and put things away. There are times when that is no hardship; times when I'm working clean and have very few things laying about. But other times, I have been working madly, pulling out this and that and leaving it out; jumping from one thing to another, and leaving the evidence of my fits and starts to cover every imaginable surface. At times like that, it seems too much to clean it all up and take pictures; and so, the finished pieces mount up, and the task become ever larger and more ominous.

Guess what I did today?

Ummm hmmmm.

So a little later on, perhaps this afternoon, feel free to hop on over to Jewelry Tales and see what I've been up to. I've taken enough photos today to keep me telling stories for oh, at least a week or two!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sharpening the saw

Or, in this case, just replacing the blade.

It's something I forget to do. I used to break them often enough; but now I'm more likely to wear them out than snap them. They wear slowly, though; and I have yet to pinpoint the moment when they are really too worn to be of use. I'm thrifty, you see; I don't like replacing things that still have some use in them.

But today I realized that my saw blade wasn't really cutting very well, and I replaced it. I compared it to the new blade I was putting in, and got quite a giggle. The difference was very obvious, and I realized that I had used that old blade a good bit longer than I should have.

Ummhmm, that's the story of my life.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Graduated Jens Pind

A few days ago I bought some gorgeous large-holed lampwork beads from Donna Millard at Fyrebeadz Studio, and they told me that the time for making that graduated Jens Pind necklace has come. Yes, it's something I've been thinking about for a long time; today I began experimenting. It's not a success story yet; not bad, really, but not as nice as I'd like. More thinking will be required on this one. Yes, I could buy a kit with all the rings already cut and sized for me; but what would be the fun in that?

There's no rush; this one's for me. And experimenting is my favorite way to work.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wash my sins away

I find it so relaxing to be inside, listening to the rain on the roof; I love the way the storm ebbs and flows, light rain building to a crescendo, pounding for a minute or two, then easing off; the sky growing ever darker, then lighter, then back again. I am sitting here, a cup of coffee within reach, typing and sipping, watching the rain.

This has been a long, slow autumn; the trees in our yard have clung to summer and are only now at their peak fall colors. Most of the leaves in other yards have already had their day; they have been tidily gathered into paper bags and set out for collection; ours are very late. They are always late, these leaves of ours; most years we don't get them raked until spring because the snow falls about the time they do.

I used to wonder why; now I just accept it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town

OK; not for awhile yet. But I'm in Christmas mode, making gifts for family and friends. These things take awhile!

Making something with a specific person in mind is fun. It draws me outside my usual box and dares me to think from a different perspective. Although the finished jewelry is still very much me; there is always a subtle difference to each piece that I find exhilarating. It's like looking at myself from a new angle; I see things that I didn't know were there.

It's time for me to get back to work; I'm looking forward to new discoveries.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Teeny tiny

What is it about little things? I find it very relaxing to make teeny, tiny, intricate things; using small stitches, fine thread, itty bitty beads and minuscule loops of wire; all these give me a sense of order in the midst of chaos.

And it has been chaotic here.

So this will probably not be a good week for those who like big, chunky jewelry; I'm in a much smaller frame of mind just now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wearing armour

I'm really loving my latest bracelet; it's a European 4-in-1, using two different sizes of rings, which makes it a very dense weave. It conforms to my wrist, and really feels nice. The bead is a big, flat, textured piece of multi-colored glass which catches the light; I'd tried it in a necklace a year or two ago and was not satisfied with how it lay, but in this bracelet, it's superb. The maille is about an inch wide, and it feels very substantial without being too heavy. I love the way it caresses my wrist.

This is the widest piece of maille that I've ever made, and yup, I'm hooked. I don't know if it will really protect me from anything, but wearing it does make me feel oddly comforted.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Note to self:

Heat patina copper before weaving it into chain maille.

Does the word annealing come to mind? Erm, not to mine, it didn't. Not before hitting it with the torch, anyway. Afterwards, oh yeah, that was all I could think of as I watched little rings pop off my bracelet when I tried to get it off my wrist after the clasp mushed up and refused to release!

Not to worry; I fixed it. I put the rings that had gone AWOL back, and hammered the clasp back into rigidness. I tumbled it, and for good measure, I hit it with my little plastic hammer to make sure it was good and hard.

It sure would have been easier had I made the decision to patina it before weaving it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

For no reason at all

We went out to breakfast this morning. What fun! Eating breakfast out is such a treat, and doing it on a weekday is an extra special treat. But I am so stuffed that I will most likely give lunch a miss and make dinner early.

Have you treated yourself lately? Go for it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Was I dreaming?

That is the question I woke with today after having a series of dreams that each started with me dreaming that I woke up. In each dream, I would awaken, then go on to face a troubling situation. In some of the dreams, things turned out well, and it others, it didn't. But they were all exceptionally vivid, and made more so by the sensation of being wakened before each one began. I've come to the conclusion that I was dreaming...but only because the others who were involved in my dreams didn't share in my experience last night.

I had a shared dream, once, which also involved dreaming that I woke; when my sister and I were very young, we both dreamt one night that we woke up, went out into our backyard, and discovered that we could fly. Oddly enough, neither of us dreamt that we left our own yard; we just flew in circles around the lawn, about ten or fifteen feet in the air. Only the fact that we could not fly anymore convinced us that it had indeed been a dream; a shared dream, but a dream nonetheless. It can probably be explained by Peter Pan; but for a few hours, we were convinced that it had been real.

In my dreams last night, I faced each situation as it arose; and even when the results were not stellar, my courage was. Perhaps I am stronger than I suspect.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Am I the only one who has trouble remembering which password I've used with which log in name, or was it my email address that they are now calling my user name? And it is only made worse by the ones that store the information on my computer and usually log me in automatically...those are great until my computer does its housecleaning and deletes all the connections.

And yes, I do know that I can exclude them, but it's more trouble to figure out how to do that than I want to get into most days. I'm writing this because I'm currently locked out of my photo host. Too many failed tries at getting my password to match up with my user name. I eventually looked it up, but by then it was too late. I'd tried too many false combinations and it wasn't having any of it.

Wonder if it's unlocked itself yet?

Monday, November 5, 2007

I'm back

I took the weekend off; I needed some time to think. Life is hard right now, and I was feeling overwhelmed. So I hid for a couple of days, and made some decisions.

I am giving up the idea of selling jewelry, at least for now. It wasn't happening, and I don't have the time or the energy to do the required marketing to make it happen at this point in my life. There is just too much else that needs my time and attention. I make jewelry because I love to make it, and I write because I love to write. I wasn't really doing it for anyone but myself, anyway, and I feel such relief at admitting that! So, thank you to everyone who encouraged and supported me, but it isn't what's best for me right now.

I'm keeping what I make, or giving it to those I love.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Time after time

There are rhythms that echo and spin through my life: beads, fiber, metal; techniques that dance and partner with each other and alternately surprise and comfort me. Embroidery. Lace. Quilting. Coiling. Forging.

Heat, stitching and pressure.

I've explored them again and again and not found an end; only the means, repeated with endless variations. My life unfurls, its fabric pleating and gathering; its colors bleeding, one to another, its pen describing circles and swirls.

What will I find?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No destination in mind

When I can, I like to wander. No plan, no desired outcome, nothing to measure the results against. Just start, go, and end when I'm done. Wandering is always a success, because wherever I go, and whatever I do, it's interesting. I always discover something along the way; all I have to do is keep my eyes, and my mind, open.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And now, for something

completely different.

I had a small epiphany yesterday; I wanted to make a very simple looking pair of earrings using some gorgeous little lampwork beads from Melissa at Inner Realm Creations. Nothing complicated; just the bead sitting on top of a ball of silver, and a small coil of silver above the bead to keep it on the over sized ear wire.

I wasn't happy with the first way I tried it; it was the obvious way to make it, but it just didn't work up to the look I wanted. The silver ball wasn't big enough, and the bead was floppy on the 20 gauge wire required for the ear wire. So I mucked about, made a bigger ball, soldered thicker wire to the smaller ear wire, and was really unhappy with the results.

I set the beads aside.

And then it happened. Serendipity. A whole new way to look at the problem dawned on me; it was easy, and, better yet: it gave me exactly the look I was going for. I just had to be open to doing things differently.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Playing with fire

What is it about fire? Even making a couple of head pins is fun! I had an idea for some earrings, so I just nipped off to the kitchen, fired up my torch, and made a couple; and I'll be switched if I don't feel better. There is something wonderful about melting metal; no matter how often I do it, it always fills me with awe. I am always inspired by the way the molecules pull together into a spherical shape under heat.

Draw your own metaphors from this one, I'm keeping mine close today!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Yes, I'm playing with fibers again. I found some antique linens a week or two ago, and they gave me an idea for making jewelry. So I have been pleating and embroidering with threads, pearls and crystals; making needle lace edgings on the pleats and around the pearls; I am making a very baroque and very bridal cuff. A pair of these would be stunning on a long sleeved, winter wedding dress. It would also make a beautiful headpiece for a veil.

But I am making it to soothe my soul. Yes, it's all in the details. Those tiny stitches comfort me and ease my mind. Creating something beautiful, stitch by stitch, gives me strength and courage. It will take many hours to finish; and that is comforting right now. I can see my progress, and that is reassuring right now. I'm moving forward.

Time is on my side.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thank you

I was very touched yesterday to discover that I had been given an honorable mention by Copywrite, Ink for my Bloggers Against Abuse post, Heart's Ease. This means more to me than any other mention I've received, mostly because it was a very difficult thing for me to do. When I first heard about the Blogger's Against Abuse project, I knew I would have to join in; it was time to tell my story.

I'm not a statistic; I'm alive. I made it out, and I made a good life. Yes, I still have challenges, and life is not always easy; (as the past week or two has certainly proved!) but I know now that I do not have to suffer abuse ever again. I wanted to share my story in the hope that it might give someone else a chance to learn that, too. I faltered many times along the way; I wrote, erased, rewrote, and quit many times before September 27th. I didn't really finish writing it; I simply ran out of time.

The bead that I used in the necklace was a very strong factor in my decision to persevere; it was listed on ebay shortly after I made the decision to go public, and I could not get it out of my mind. It said everything that was in my heart, and, although the bidding was fierce, I knew I had to have it. At the very end of the auction, there was somewhere else I had to be, and I could not stay to make sure I was the winner. I put in a final bid, and left. No one else bid after me.

After that, there was no turning back.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New beads!

I love having new beads to look at and think about. I don't always manage to use up the old ones before I'm itching to acquire new ones, but it is such fun to order them, to wait impatiently for them to arrive, and then to tear off the packaging and hold them in my hands. They always live on my desk for awhile; usually to the left of my computer where I can glance over at them and pick them up from time to time.

Sometimes I use them immediately; other times they sit for quite awhile. Some lampwork artists only sell in large lots, so after I've used a few from the string, they end up in a sectioned drawer with my pliers; if I'm between projects, I pull them out and think about them. Sometimes I even use one or two. A few of them have been in there for so long, they've actually surprised me into almost regarding them as new again.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Hope is a beautiful thing, and I feel some growing in me today. I will nurture it and feed it and perhaps it will grow.

I can feel it shining down on me and warming me; what a wonderful feeling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's morning

And no, not any brighter than last night. So I won't be writing today -

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hard times

I won't bore you with the details, but things are not going well. I'm trying to keep positive, and keep going, but I'm not always succeeding. Sometimes I just want to quit, y'know?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Run river run

I took this picture yesterday, and when I got home I finished a bracelet using Ocean Jasper discs. Although these discs were cut and polished by a lapidary, stone is polished every day without human hands or intervention. Captured here is a moment in time, water blurred and frozen over stone. In reality it is moving still, and the stone is wearing away, infinitesimally, with every drop that passes over it. It will not disappear in my lifetime, but it is changing every day.

It's hard not to think about how things are formed while making jewelry; every day I'm shaping and filing and sanding and polishing; wearing away the scratches and deposits that my work puts into metal, doing my best to smooth out the damage that is an inevitable effect of shaping it to my vision.

I am made of softer stuff; I wear faster than stone or metal. But even my changes, which seem to happen so quickly to me, become invisible in the trajectory of smaller creatures.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Autumn Splendor

It is so beautiful here right now; the leaves are all shades of red and yellow and we are having unseasonably warm weather. So this morning my husband and I took off for Harriman State Park and we went on a hike. I took lots and lots of pictures, and had a wonderful time. So I'll just stop writing, and leave you with a picture:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The call of the outdoors

It's a beautiful fall day here, and I'm itching to go outside and play! It's time to soak up as much sunshine as I can; fall days have that effect on me. I feel as though I must store up the last of the sun, even as the warmth is vanishing, in order to last me through winter.

So no more staying inside, I'm outta here!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bragging rights

Today my middle son will be granted his second degree black belt in Karate, and he has earned it. He's been studying Karate for more than ten years, and, in his system, second black is the highest student rank. The next rank is that of teacher. I am so happy for him! He has learned so much, and has become such a wonderful young man. This is a big accomplishment, and one he has worked very hard to attain.

Can you say proud mom?

It hardly seems possible that he's almost 17 years old. I can still see that wiggly, talkative, full-of-ideas 6 year old (and I know Sensei can, too!) and, although the evidence of that little boy is not always visible in the square-jawed, muscular young man he has become, he still has the capacity for pure joy and unadulterated fun. Today we will celebrate ten years of karate lessons, and we will recognize that all of us have learned more than kata and kumite.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What a difference a day makes

24 little hours...! Yup, I am well rested today and feeling much better. I found my sense of humor yesterday afternoon; I'd lost it awhile ago, and it took its own sweet time turning up. I'll have to remember where I set it down from now on.

So today, I'm expecting a friend to drive up, and from here we'll go up to Cold Spring. It is a lovely old town, named by George Washington, who noted on his map that there was - you guessed it - a cold spring of water there. Cold Spring is now known for its antique shops, but it should be known for Momminia, a darling bead, gemstone and jewelry store. It's one of my favorite places.

So we'll head up there, and hopefully the rain that is threatening will hold off!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is it morning?

Oh, my, another night of not enough sleep! This is not good! So I'm kind of foggy today, actually having trouble focusing my eyes. Perhaps I will take a little nap; maybe I will rewrite this entry later, or perhaps it will stand as is. Time will tell!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More powerful than a locomotive

Today, I am determined to cut steel and weave rings. I have been wanting to make a pair of earrings to go with my Allyson Rules bracelet for a long time, but just haven't gotten to it. Today, I am determined!

Yes, the Robert Burns lines did spring, unbidden, into my head just now,
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley

from To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, and yes, my nest has been very recently turned up! But we have not given up making plans, we just make new ones; we build our nests again and again.

But enough of nest building. Today I will be invincible; I will bend steel to my will!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

and so it goes

Time is a very strange thing. You would think it would march forth in an orderly manner; we have numbered and cataloged it, but we have not tamed it. It's been at least a week since Sunday night, I know it has; but in reality only two days (36 hours, actually!) have passed. Time folded on me, and I went the long way around instead of skipping across the wrinkles. Thank you for your prayers yesterday; they held me up and kept me going.

So now we've settled in to walking this new road; the unpleasant will become ordinary; the unthinkable will become routine. We will live with what we never imagined we could bear, we always do. Our resilience is astonishing. What is it that we need to learn this time? I don't have any answers yet, but I am very grateful for the overwhelming urge I had a few weeks ago to clear the decks and get myself extricated from unnecessary activities and responsibilities. The Lord was looking out for me and preparing me for what I need to do now.

For that, I am very grateful.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Not today

I warned you that somedays I might only tell you what I'm not going to do, and today here it is. I'm not going to write about what is happening in my life today.

Just send prayers, ok?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The means of doing this

Yesterday we went to a home show; my husband is interested in renewable energy, and he wanted to see what was being offered to the remodeling population. There were a few representatives from solar companies, and some insulation dealers, but most of the displays were more geared toward looks than toward performance. And since I am someone who spends a lot of time making things just because I think they're pretty, I understand that.

Beauty is functional.

Oh, not at the expense of food, or a roof over one's head; there are issues of subsistence that must be addressed before the aesthetic can be admitted; but, to risk cliche, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

After the home show, we stopped at a local bookstore for a cup of tea and a browse, and I found myself looking through the art books. It's something I do a lot of, actually, and yesterday I was very aware of how lucky I am to live in an age of print. I don't have to own beauty to enjoy it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Learning from experiments

I was experimenting yesterday. More or less successfully; not the outcome I was hoping for, but not a total failure, either. And therein lies the problem. Resounding successes are wonderful. I get to do the happy dance, I know when they're done, and I'm thrilled and excited. Failures aren't bad, either; they go off quickly to the scrap pile, and I've learned something valuable.

It's the not-quite-but-almost ones that give me fits.

That's when I discover that sometimes it's better to just leave well enough alone. For example, the ring I made yesterday was an experiment, and, as experiments go, it was a good one. I learned a lot; both what to do, and what not to do. I'm not quite happy with it, but I don't hate it, either; and that makes it very hard to set down. This morning I woke up with a few ideas for "fixing" it; and yes, you guessed it, no matter what I tried, it just didn't work. It's gone right back to where it was yesterday, and this time, it's going to stay that way.

The weaknesses in the project could not be turned into strengths. And covering them up only made them look, well, covered up. It's not a bad ring. It's not a good ring. It is what it is: a lesson learned.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Letting go

"...the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."


Remember the old philosophical discussions we used to have in our late teens and early twenties? The ones that started out assuming that we were dreaming a world that was dreaming us, and what about that tree falling in the forest?

The center of the universe, we were; our perceptions defined everything. Infinity plus one; the eternal conundrum. How heroic Rick was to give up Ilsa: we all knew that he knew that their problems were bigger than the rest of the world, but he gave her up anyway. We wondered if we could be as selfless; we liked to think we could, but secretly, we had our doubts.

Fast forward to today. No beans. Really. Not a one, much less a hill. Rick was a realist, after all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Important, not urgent

The telephone is ringing. I need it by tomorrow, Mom! 50 new emails overnight. We need your decision today. You promised! If you don't act quickly, this opportunity will be lost. They won't be kids forever. Make sure they do their homework every day. What are we having for dinner? I don't have any clean clothes! I can't find my (fill in the blank). If you don't do something, it's only going to get worse! Act NOW!

I've turned into a reactive automaton. Answer the phone. I'll go to the store right now. Delete, delete, quick answer. Yes! No! I'm sorry! Uh, what was I supposed to do? Did you do your homework? Pot roast! They're in the drier! It's in the car. Worse than this?

Act how?

And yes, this is the point where I stop. These things won't go away, even if I deal with them all today, they'll all come back tomorrow with the same urgency; the same shouting, touting, self-importance. But when will I have the chance to tell my son how pleased I am with the young man he's become? Where will I find the time to build a relationship with my daughter-in-law? Do I have enough love to let my daughter choose her own way? Those are the things of consequence; they wait patiently for me, they do not tug at my hem or shout.

But they will not come back if I let them go away unanswered; they are important, but not urgent.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Depending on peyote

It's so relaxing, so comforting, so trustworthy and reliable. Pick up a bead, take a stitch, and watch it slowly grow into a beautiful fabric of colors under my hands. It's like relaxing into the embrace of an old friend; a friend I haven't seen in years, but whose arms still know how to make me feel safe and loved.

I've been spending too much time on the high wire lately; pushing myself, feeling the pressure of time and wanting to do so very much. More, really, than is possible for me. Perhaps others can do it; but I just can't. Not and stay sane, and sanity is a very good thing.

So it is time for me to weave a cocoon; to wrap myself in the quiet, slow, and steady march of tiny beads.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

9,000 calories

Yup, that's how many are in the bag of candy that I bought yesterday to give out for trick-or-treating. 9,000 calories. Who would have thought that those little packages packed such a big punch? Not me! But I did the math (a couple of times, actually, since I could not believe it on the first go) and there it is. About four days worth of calories in one bag. So I will not be nipping a few of those before the big day, oh, no; now I know how dangerous they are, and I'll have to resist.


Counting calories is still not part of my mindset. I spent too many years burning them as fast as I ingested them; I still expect my body to work that way, though it has been awhile since it did. How many other things do I expect to continue forever, just as they once did? Erm, too many. I like consistency. I like knowing that if I do x, then y will follow. I'm not thrilled about the fact that z has taken over from y and given me a whole new paradigm to understand.

Odd how I love to learn some new things, but not others.

Monday, October 8, 2007

One bead at a time

It has occurred to me that many of the things I like to do involve small, repetitious actions; in fact, they are often described as tedious by those who watch me slowly wend my way toward completion.
Tedious: too long, slow, or dull: tiresome or monotonous : a tedious journey.

Erm, that's housework. Not making lace. Not embroidery. Not quilting. Not making jewelry, for goodness sake!

I'll concede too long, slow, and even monotonous moments. Dull? Uh, sometimes. But never tiresome. Oh, no; quite the opposite. The process of making things, those small, repetitious movements, serves to quiet the turmoil in my soul and concentrate my energy. Why this, and not other, equally small and equally repetitious movements, like washing windows? I wonder.

It isn't because of the end product; no, I am notorious for putting the things I make away and forgetting about them. I actually spend a lot more time appreciating the results of my housework. But the process of cleaning does not have the same effect on me. I rush through it, intent on the goal of finishing, seeing only the results, which never last long enough. Spiders are even more industrious than I, and I see defeat on a daily basis. That's tedium in my eyes.

Hmmmmm. Perhaps I need to live my life as I create: one bead at a time, put the results away quickly, and welcome the chance to make something new.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

3:00 a.m. and all's well!

Well, other than the being awake part. What is it with 3:00 in the morning? Yup, I was wide awake for a couple of hours; no particular reason, my body just got a wee bit confused and thought it was time to get up. In vain did I point out that it was dark outside, that five hours is not enough sleep for me, that it was very clearly not breakfast time; I was awake, and apparently I was going to stay that way for awhile.

Nope, no big problems or concerns to resolve; nothing that needed my immediate and undivided attention; things are going as well as can be expected in a house with two teenagers and a retired husband. I'm even caught up on the laundry and the visible cleaning; those dust bunnies under the couch can breed for another day or two without running out of room under there! So I gave in, and let my mind wander. A few new designs came of it; I don't know if I will make them or not. I am terribly wasteful of designs; so many times I am entirely finished with something immediately after visualizing it. The path between imagining and creating is not always a straight one; quite often it veers suddenly.

I don't know how long I stayed awake; I don't remember falling back to sleep. But suddenly, it was light out there, and there was no more arguing with my stomach: it was breakfast time.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Jens Pind again?

I'm not sure if it's going to take hold of me this time, but it's tickling the back of my mind again. Yeah, I'm thinking a graduated chain, and I'm already working out the math in my head. Jens Pind isn't very forgiving; the rings have to be the right size or it just won't hold its shape. And if I'm going to make it, I want it to be smooth; there is nothing worse than a graduated chain that jumps from size to size! They only work when they increase so gradually that it actually surprises you to realize that the center is that much larger around than the ends.

I don't know if this will be something that reaches fruition soon, or if it will go back into the recesses of my mind to perk again. It's been up here before, but thinking about the mathematics of it is new. All I know is that today it's so close that I can almost see it. Not quite clearly enough to take out paper and pencil and make the calculations, but just there enough to make me want to figure out the formulas I'll need to use.

If I make it, that is.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Breathing is good

I've been fighting a cold for about a week and a half now, and this morning I woke up, able to breathe pretty much normally. What a great feeling! Amazing how, in the space of a week, I could forget how wonderful breathing normally is. Actually, that's probably backwards; when I couldn't breathe properly, I was very much aware of how wonderful it was, I just couldn't experience it. But today, I can. Deeeep breath in, and allll the way out. Oh, yeah, that's good! I will, no doubt, take it entirely for granted in a little while, but for now, I'm very appreciative.

But it's not just my lungs that can breathe again; over the past few months, I had gotten myself in over my head on a project that didn't turn out the way I'd expected it to; in fact, it had begun pulling me in a direction that I didn't want to go. It seemed like a good idea when I started, but it just got to be more than I could handle. I was making compromises that were not comfortable for me, and I was getting pretty cranky about it! I finally had to admit that I just couldn't breathe, and I took on a more manageable role. Others will pick up where I left off, and they will be more capable than I of seeing it through.

Breathing is good on all counts.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Maille me

So last night I combined two things I've been wanting to do:
- making a maille ring
- learning euro 4-in-1
into one project.

It was a very cool project, actually. I did the weave the way one would for a maille shirt, instead of the way it is usually done for jewelry, and I really like the way it looks and feels. It sort of hugs my finger, and stretches and contracts as I move. It's not the least bit rigid, like other rings; and done this way, it really looks more like a knit than anything else. I added some labradorite dangles to it which give it sort of a funky medieval look. If it were oxidized, it might look goth, but it's shiny bright, so it looks like me!

If you want to see, click here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Kiss, kiss

"Keep it simple, silly!"

Every once in awhile, I have to just stop and remind myself of that. I can easily give into the temptation to make things too ornate, to hide behind a very decorative facade. I like pretty things, and I like to make them. But when they begin to take on a life of their own...when they pull my life out of balance...then it's time to knock them back to their very foundations.

What is important to me?
People, not popularity. I don't need to be well known or important in my community; I need the loving fellowship of my friends and family.

Making, not validation. I can't please everyone, and if I try to, I'll please no one.

Honesty and loving kindness.

It's reality check time. This is who I am, and this is what I do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A special story

My most recent Jewelry Tales bracelet, Greta Sails, has a very special story behind it; the black walnut bead used as the focal arrived with its own story for me to elaborate on. Thank you, Joan Jensen of Tazwood Creations! I hope you like where I've taken Greta; I am so pleased that you introduced me to her. As I use more of your beads, Greta and her family will appear in more of my tales.

I wanted to use this very unusual bead to begin telling Greta's story; I wanted to use it to express her hope, loneliness and anticipation of a new and better life with this bracelet. It's always hard to leave behind the people and places that we know well; it often takes something out of the ordinary to make us begin.

Greta's journey has begun; where will she take me next?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Drawing it out

Sometimes I go to the library with a sketchpad and a bunch of nice sharp pencils and spend a few hours just making lines and shapes; sketching ideas and making notes; poring over the pictures in the nice big art books that live there. It's a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, especially on a rainy or snowy day; our library has big floor to ceiling windows, and it's the perfect place to hole up in bad weather.

Yeah, a few hours spent sketching is a really good time.

But here's the kicker: I never refer back to the sketches and notes I've made. Once I've made them, I'm done with them. And here's a secret: I've made the same sketches over and over again, I know I have. I stick with the same book for several visits, dipping in and out of a few favorites on a regular basis. My eye often goes to the same thing I sketched the last time I was there; and as I start drawing, my motor memory kicks in and I feel the lines etching their way deeper and deeper into my mind with every repetition.

When they've cut deep enough, then I can use them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Waiting for Godot

No, not really; he's not coming. I'm not waiting for him at all. But I am waiting; sometimes it is time to stop doing things and just wait for awhile. It used to make me crazy when the waiting times came; I was afraid that all my creativity had dried up and blown away. I was certain that I'd never make another thing, never write another word. Fear is a fearful thing, indeed.

But now I see these times of deep breathing as a respite; a time to let my mind go silent, my fingers rest, and the seeds of new ideas germinate. Without this time, they cannot push their way out of the darkness; without this time, they will never see the light of day. They will grow, flower, and fruit in good time. And I don't have to do a thing to help them; all I have to do is watch and wait.

And when they're ready, I'll be ready, too.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blue skies

"Nothin' but blue skies, from now on." Yup, I have that song stuck in my head, and looking out the window, it's appropriate today. The storm that raced through here yesterday is gone; the wind remains, but the skies have been scoured clean. It's the sort of day where I'm drawn to using turquoise. I don't know what it is about windy, clear days, but they just say turquoise to me.

I have some beautiful wooden beads that have also been whispering turquoise...perhaps it is time to play with them. I don't know exactly what they want me to do yet; perhaps if I go out into the garden and do a little work there, they will tell me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking Stock

It's Friday. It's been a rough week; I've had a lot on my mind, and a lot that needed to be done. I didn't get everything done, but that's the way it goes. Sometimes I need to give myself a break and just let things be what they are. I'm listening to our parakeet sing as I type this; he has the most amazing range of sounds and tones. He makes me laugh; he is such a silly bird. Yes, it's very good sometimes to just stop running around doing things and listen to the rhythm of the world.

Today is that sort of day. Maybe I'll get some more done, and maybe I won't.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A special request

Today, I have a special request for anyone reading this; please take a moment and think about what you can do to help stop abuse. It need not be a big or dramatic thing; stopping the smallest abuse can make a difference. If you know someone who is being abused, or who is perpetrating abuse, do something. Even if you can't stop it, speak out.

Today is the Bloggers Unite to Stop Abuse event. Bloggers all over the world are writing with one theme in mind: stop abuse. Any and all abuse, large and small. If you have a moment, please read my story, Heart's Ease, on Jewelry Tales. And if you have a blog, please consider adding your voice; if we can stop even one instance of abuse, we can change someone's life forever.

I know, because mine was changed 15 years ago.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What do I do all day?

Well, today, I'll be taking photos and listing new items in my Etsy shop. But first I have to clean off my desk, because for the past two days, I've been making jewelry. Sometimes I'm very neat when I work, and I put things away when I'm done with them; but other days, nope, I'm on a mission and things get scattered all over creation. I've just had two of those days, and I don't think there's an inch of wood showing on my desk. I've even encroached a bit on the floor. Can't take photos in this mess!

So, after I clean up, I'll set up my equipment and take some pictures. Then I'll finish up their stories, start posting them on my Blog, and list the ones that I'll be selling on Etsy. I'll most likely steal a few minutes for making up a new design that's bouncing around in my head even as I type; but I really have to focus on the part that lets you see my stuff.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paperback writer

I'm working on some new tales and some new styles, just for fun. They're not "serious" jewelry, they're playful, inexpensive, and cute. I was getting grumpy with trying to live the life of a Real Jewelry Designer; I finally realized that I just can't take myself quite that seriously. I need to play! Get off the swing set kids, Mom wants her turn.

Oh, and in case you were worried about me, I'm not setting the precious metals aside forever; just tempering them with a bit of steel now and then. I expect my designs and I will both be stronger for it. I had such a wonderful time yesterday, playing with maille and glass, and today I'm going to make some more. Umm, right after I do the grocery shopping. Yeah, there's not a lot to eat around here!

So keep an eye out at Etsy for my Paperback Line, 'K? It will be debuting in a day or two. I'm really excited about it, and I'm having so much fun putting it together!

Monday, September 24, 2007

In a quiet place

There is a quiet place in my life that I enter when I create; a place where time and thought cannot follow. It is, as Dali described it, a place where my hand is guided by an angel. Oh, I know what you are thinking: What gall! How dare this ordinary woman claim to be consorting with angels when she works? But it's not like that at all. The angel who guides me there does not care about the work, does not guide my hand in the manufacturing. No, it is not for the sake of improving the work that the angel takes me there.

It is for my spirit, not my work. In that place, I do the work I was made to do; not divine work, but the work of my hands and my heart. This quiet place is a gift, a very great gift. When I enter, I am given comfort and joy in my own ability to work. No matter if the work is good, bad or indifferent. The outcome is not important. The privilege of going there, is, I suspect, the only reason that I make anything.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sisyphus Envy

I have not walked lightly on this earth; I have made too many things. I have left too much evidence. I do not make things for a purpose; the things are not important, they are not the reason for the time spent making them. They are here only as a result of my need to make them. Sisyphus, was, perhaps, lucky; he started every day without any evidence of his previous day's work. He was free to begin again, to spend his entire day making. There are times when I am tempted to take everything I have made to bits, to give away the excess and leave myself only one small box of materials to reuse every day, in a different way.

Yes, I was cleaning out my studio yesterday. It holds the evidence of a lifetime of arts and crafts; my lifetime. It is an amalgamation of material objects that says too much about my life and how it has been spent; I found far too many unfinished items for which I have no passion left. I have given away a lot of it; so much of the excess has gone to people who care about using it. But the things I have made, or had begun to make, remain.

I cannot tear them apart. Not yet.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Make lace while the sun shines

So I'm back to making lace. Simple, comfortable, bobbin lace ground with silver wire. No, I don't know yet what I will do with it; did you really expect I would? I't's just time to make it.

OK, yes, it might very well be part of the weaver woman's plan. But I'm fighting her a little bit on this one. I'm not sure I'm ready for it; but I will make the lace and find out.

Faith. It's all about faith.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I'm dithering! Too many options. Too many things to do -- can't decide what to do first. Hmmmm; staring into space is probably NOT my best choice. Seems to be the one I'm falling back on, though.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time for thought

Today my muse wanted me for my mind, not my fingers. She asks a lot, that weaver woman; today she kept me thinking, working on making some important decisions. I think we've got it sorted; we've lots of work to do in order to make this idea a reality. More thinking, too, I suspect.

But I really like this new idea of hers; I'll keep you posted as we work through it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The more things change

Oh, yeah, the only constant is change. Yesterday morning, I thought I needed to make settings for two moonstones to go with the six Not Tao 3 links I had made on Monday. So I did. And I was really happy with them; all those Art Nouveau books I have been lugging home from the library lately seem to have seeped into my brain; I made up two very swirly Art Nouveau bezel settings and popped a pair of nearly matching moonstones into them. They look great with the links; good balance of weight, size, and style.

So why is this entry about change? Because the moonstone links are just too big to put two of them into a bracelet. The original plan was to alternate a mirrored pair of Not Tao 3 links with a moonstone, making a balanced bracelet with three chain sets and two moonstone links. But that would have left the moonstones either sitting awkwardly (and uncomfortably) on top of the wrist bones, or having one up and one down and a clasp on the side. Uh, no. Not pretty. Yeah, the bracelet looked great sitting on the bench, but it was not supposed to be a paperweight.

So it was time to let things change. Hmmmmm . . . if I make two more Not Tao 3 links and put one of the moonstones in the center . . . with four links on either side . . . oooh, yeah I like that. All it needed was a simple hook to hold it together. Between the weight of the links, and the size of the focal, I don't suspect there will be a lot of slippage.

. . . and the other moonstone setting? Remember that mosaic bracelet I want to make? Yeah, I think so. Unless it has other ideas.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The wire knows where the wire goes

After setting it aside a few months ago, I suddenly had a burning interest in Not Tao 3 come over me this weekend. I let it percolate on Sunday (we were out all day, enjoying the Ferry-Go-Round, a series of all day festivals in several towns along the Hudson River, with transportation provided by ferry, so much fun!) and then I woke up Monday morning, ready to make some links.

My usual way with maille is delicate; I like tiny, thin, rings and chain that serves more as a background element than as a focal point, but yesterday, I reached for 16 gauge wire and began coiling and cutting rings. That is very thick wire for me; I am most comfortable with 18 and 20 gauge. I had a vague idea (OK, you caught me, NO idea) what I was going to do with the links, but I went to work and made them anyway. Six of them.

I set each one down on my bench as I finished it, and looked at them, rather askance, as they marched across the surface. They're big. Very big. About 15mm across. Whatever am I going to do with these behemoths? They are certainly not going to go with the 4mm turquoise cabs that I'd originally envisioned using, and nope, they are not going to be part of the mosaic bracelet that was enticing me . . . what to do, what to do?

Walk away, I decided. Let them sit there. They wanted to be made; now it's their turn to do some talking. Let them decide what to be; they'll tell me when they are good and ready. And they did tell me, much later, when I was almost ready to go to bed, as a matter of fact. Luckily, what they wanted to do only took a few minutes. Oh, yes, there's more to be done today; but I'm going to tease you the way those rings teased me, and stop right here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More adventures with Jens Pind

Small, medium and large were not enough! I had to try doubled, which I love, and working a bead into the middle of the chain, which is pretty cool, especially from a technical standpoint. It wasn't easy, but I like the way the bead just floats there. That one also features two different sizes of chain in the same bracelet.

So am I Jens Pind-ed out? For now, yeah, I think so. Not that I won't be using it again, I surely will, but my obsession with it seems to be waning. It's thread is moving to a less prominent part of my mind. My mind works rather like a serial: one story is beginning, another is in full bloom, and one is ending at pretty much any given moment. Lots of overlap! There may be a Jens Pind or two still in me before it makes its way off-stage; I never know what will happen next.

But I do know that there is a very exciting new story line bubbling to the forefront of my mind; I can hardly wait to see what develops with this one! Stay tuned; same bat channel, same bat time . . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The weaver woman

I saw my muse at her loom this morning, weaving the tapestry that is my life; as is her way, she was beginning to set aside the threads that have most recently been dominant; she had, in her hand, a new color that excited me, and she picked up some old colors that she had teased me with and set aside months ago. What pattern will she create next?

I didn't see.

She never shows me the pattern, just the colors. She is the weaver woman, the lace maker, the embroiderer of my creativity. She leads; I follow. There are days, weeks, and years where my only task is to thread the warp of her loom. I used to fight her; I would argue and rage against the mundane chores she set in front of me; complain that she didn't understand me, didn't support me, didn't give me what I needed and wanted. She would look at me sadly and wait for me; she placed the threads in my path again and again, until I reluctantly picked them up and did her bidding.

I'm older now, and we've been together nearly half a century. I trust her. She has never withheld the threads I needed, never designed anything that hurt me. I have come to understand that the pattern is not for my eyes; not for my glory. It is not mine to know. I pick up the threads she is offering me; feeling the comfort that comes from working with faith.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spying on the big kids

Yesterday, I went to a wonderful Arts and Crafts Fair at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, NY. It is the best show; all of the exhibitors are amazing and so very creative and they simply do not allow anything that is cheaply mass produced to slip by. Most of the pieces are one-offs, actually, and most of the booths are staffed by the artist. It's not just about jewelry; the woodworking, textiles, ceramics, photography and sculptures are also superb. Anyway, I wandered up and down the aisles all afternoon, my eyes as big as saucers, spying on the big kids to see what they know that I don't know.

I must say, they were very, very nice about it. Of course, I didn't tell them I was spying; and since I look a lot like every other New York matron of a certain age, I had a really effective disguise for my secret agent task. They let me handle their pretties and try them on, and they were very quick to show me their special details.

My mission was a complete success.

I came away with so many ideas . . . so many pieces made me think. My mind was reeling by the time I left. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Mobiles made with teeny tiny origami cranes. They danced even when they were motionless. Repeated elements in asymmetrical juxtaposition...YES!!! What a great idea.

  • Wooden jewelry chests that hang on the wall and look more like art than cabinetry. Well, besides the fact that I want one, maybe sometimes function should follow form.

  • A hidden hook on the back of an earring can be used to secure the ear wire. Form hides function on that one.

  • A loose rivet lets everything twirl and move. That's fun.

  • Ear wires can be any shape. Really.

  • I have to make a mosaic bracelet. Soon.

And to top it all off, it was a beautiful day.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Which comes first?

I've had a lot of people ask me if the jewelry inspires the stories, or the stories inspire the jewelry, so I thought I'd clear that up early in the life of this blog. Really, they are both separate, and it's more like a marriage. The stories come from my imagination, but they are based on things that have happened to me, or to people around me, or things that I have heard or read about. Their themes are always floating around in my head; they are about the things that matter to me.

The jewelry is like that, too. Some of it is very ornate, some of it is almost stark -- and some pieces are just fun and playful. They all come from different places in my mind, from my many moods and desires. My inspiration for a piece may come from a stone, from a weave, from the arc of a rose cane climbing into a tree in my garden, or from a baby frog sitting on a lily pad in my pond.

Now: how do the stories meet and marry the jewelry? They meet in the spaces between thought. Quite a lot of the time I spend making jewelry requires much from my fingers, but very little from my brain. Coiling and cutting rings; weaving chain; wrapping teeny tiny faceted rondelles and briolettes; all of these take a good deal of time and dexterity, but not a lot of conscious thought. And so, my mind wanders.

One day, I was thinking of a friend whose only son was going off to college, and then I noticed that the bracelet I was making looked like the Xs and Os that I used to sign my letters with when I was a child; the story for Hugs and Kisses came from that meeting. Another day, I was pondering my own faith, and the seed beads I was using looked like grains of sand . . . which of course led me to the thought that small as my faith seems some days, if I have faith only the size of a grain of sand, I can still move mountains. And from that comforting realization, I created another woman whose faith was small, but perhaps large enough, after all.

There are more stories of the marriages of words and jewelry, but that's enough for now. Both ultimately come from my heart and soul, but I think you already knew that . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm addicted to Jens Pind!

Yeah, it's very strange -- I'm in love with a chain. But it's just the coolest thing going; it looks like a spiral that met a braid and shared DNA. It took me forever to figure out how to do it -- there is a right way and a wrong way and I had a lot of trouble figuring out the difference between the two, but then I suddenly got it, and I love it.

I've done it big, medium, and small.

I've done it in copper, silver, and gold.

And I'm not even going into some of the other things that I've done with it, 'cause, I haven't taken pictures of them yet!!! But I'll make another entry when I take some pictures and tell you about some of the other things I've been doing with Jens Pind.