Monday, April 30, 2012

Lessons Learned

Color combos that didn't work this week.

:: last week, I tried in vain to make some glass colors act like my favorite colors... lesson learned: you can't make colors be something they are not.

:: last week, there was an afternoon where I thought I just needed to close my eyes for a few minutes, I slept for an hour and a half... lesson learned: sometimes I just need a nap... heck, I'm sure we all could use one from time to time!

:: last week, not once, but two times I had packages NOT delivered to my house because the seller put signature confirmation on the postage... lesson learned: I will warn people if I ever decide to put signature requirements on stuff.

Yep, just 3 little lessons learned last week. I'm sure there are more that I am forgetting, but these are really sticking with me. What do you remember learning last week?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Chances To Learn!

I was pretty excited to share last week what classes I'll be teaching on the Bead Cruise next year. I'm just as excited to share what I'll be teaching at this year's artBLISS!! This will be my 3rd year teaching at this wonderful event put on by my very dear friend, Cindy Wimmer, and her partner in work-shopping, Jeanette Blix Ryan. These two really know how to put on a retreat that is not only fun and educational but that also builds a sense of community and camaraderie. It's happening this September 21-23, 2012 in Sterling VA, just outside of Washington DC.

The jewelry blog world is going to be on fire today with all things artBLISS. Already my blog reader is over flowing with posts! I love it!! It just goes to show how much people truly connect with this event. You really really won't want to miss it. I could go on and on about it, really, but who has the time to read babble. Let's sum it up...

10. I'm bringing back my K.reating A.rt B.eads class! I taught this at the event in 2010 and I'm thrilled to be doing it again. Don't be intimidated by the flame! YOU CAN MAKE ART GLASS BEADS!! I'll teach you how. 

9. Oh my stars... Cindy gets the best desserts for the Meet & Greet party on Friday night and this year instructors will be doing demos. (Students get in for FREE, the general public can buy a ticket!) Plus there are giveaways during the gathering too. PLUS, this year there will be AUTHOR SIGNINGS!! Both Erin Siegel and myself will be signing copies of our new books. 

8. All new for 2013, the Don't Trash It, Destash It Social is happening Saturday night!! It's like a swap.  Bring beads from your stash that just aren't igniting your inspiration, drop them off at a set time (to be determined), and then, all the beads collected will be sorted/mixed into great packages that will picked up during the social! The more people that attend, the bigger the assortment that you get to take home. 

7. I'll be teaching the fast paced 3 hour version of Snaptastic Saturday night (after the Destash Social). Now, I realized that not everyone wants to take digital photos to sell there work. So maybe you have passed on Snaptastic in the past. BUT, look at it this way, even if you aren't selling your work, you want to be able to take great photos of the things you make to share with family and friends. This class is an opportunity to learn to do that. You can even take photos of the things you make at artBLISS to show off. 

6. EEEKKK!! I'm registered for Christine Damm's Color Your World class on Sunday! So you should totally come just to see me make a complete fool of myself trying to make polymer beads. HA!

5. You definitely want to learn my technique for making cold worked bezels and adding embossed color to metal in my all new True Colors class. I am so incredibly proud of this class. I want you there!

4. I'm driving down this year instead of flying so I will have so much more stuff with me!! That means more beads to sell, people... and kits... and books... without the restrictions of airline baggage weight limits. You want a good selection, right? You don't want to wait for me to post leftover when I get home, right? Be there.  

3. THE artBLISS ANNEX! I am so freaking stinking excited that Cindy is doing this!! That girl has an amazing eye for vintage goodies and antique treasures. She is going to be making her finds available for you to buy. Seriously, I would travel to DC for the weekend, even if I wasn't teaching, just to get my hands on some of the things she is bringing. 

2. The other instructors lined up are out of this world! There are classes from April Bowles-OlinDiane CookChristine DammStacie FlorerErin Siegel, and Beth Taylor. Frankly, you are going to have a hard time choosing which class NOT to take. There are 13 workshops packed into 3 days!



1. You can win free stuff!! Cindy and Jeanette are giving away 4 of the gorgeous artBLISS canvas totes loaded up with goodies. Visit Cindy's blog to learn more about how you can win a new jewelry saw, blades, DVD, and some gel liver of sulfur. The giveaway ends May 2, 2012... so get on it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Getting There

studio monday 1 studio monday 2 studio monday 3 studio monday 4 studio monday 5 studio monday 6

It's getting there.
Slowly, but surely, I'm learning the new ways of the new studio.
It had been too long since I last made beads. What was it, a month, or more?
Well before the Bead Cruise (don't forget early bird registration for returning cruisers opens at noon today!), that's for sure.
I have some new ideas stirring that I want to bring to life. Beads are definitely required.
So the studio was christened yesterday and my first beads here have been made.
Nothing fancy. The learning curve coming back to the flame after so many weeks is a steep one.
I am eager to get in this morning and see how things worked out. There are a couple of pretty cabochons (or should I say Kabochons) waiting for me.
Who knows? Maybe I'll have a few new goodies to post on my website by the end of the week... we'll see.

Monday, April 23, 2012

random stuff

My inspiration board is hung. Lots of love here! Setting sun

:: friday it was in the 80s, today we woke to an inch of slushy snow... with more on the way
:: i've been automatically switched to the new blogger and i can't say i like it... argh... let's hope this post looks alright!
:: my inspiration board is up in the studio, it's different in the new space, but i love it
:: it's time to start making some beads
:: dang snow has me wanting to curl into a sleeping ball on the couch with a book next to the fire
:: i spent saturday out antiquing with a friend from high school... we had mexican cuisine for lunch
:: while i was gone, ron made a fantastic pot of beef stroganoff, it was so so good
:: i was spoiled with food all weekend and my tummy shows it

Restaurant art

:: yesterday we were lazy most of the day
:: as we watched movies and folded laundry, i embroidered a fabric cover for my sister's nook case... i want it for myself
:: i'm so so inspired by embroidery lately, probably because i'm finally sharing it with y'all as part of the new book... good things are cooking... or should i said good things are stitching... or waiting to be stitched...
:: there is an interesting phone call happening tomorrow at 10am... things are in the works peps
:: oh, i should mention, i decided to start a new collection... old, pretty, china, dinner plates... i didn't find any on saturday, but i'll keep looking
:: this morning i put pepper jack cheese on a bagel with a scrambled egg... i highly recommend it
:: i really really don't recommend this new blogger... it's been a pain all morning
:: time to get the day rolling... what's on your agenda?

My poor dogwood Snowy feet

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bead Cruise 2013

I can hardly believe I'm about to say this. Hang on to your hats, kids!! This is exciting!! Can you guess what it is by the post title?!?

I'm teaching at/on Bead Cruise 2013!!

YEE HAW!! I know, it's crazy right? It feels like I just got home from the trip yesterday!! Committing to a cruise is a big deal though, so planning starts early. In fact, one of my deadlines last week was to submit my class proposals to our fearless leader, Heather Powers. I really was so so excited, and honored, to be asked back. On March 3rd of next year, we'll be sailing out of New Orleans, Louisiana, for a 7 night adventure on the high seas, visiting Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. The instructors are all AMAZING!! I can't wait to hang with me new teaching BFF, Tracy Stanley. I can't wait to give a big hug to our Mom away from home, Beverly Herman. Plus, I get to meet polymer guru, Ronna Sarvas Weltman, too!! Plus, not only is she our leader, but Heather will be an instructor as well. AWESOME!!

I'm rather eager to share the classes I'll be teaching. I've kept these kind of on the down low for a while, waiting for the release of Rustic Wrappings. But, the time for waiting is over! I told you in a video a few weeks ago that I really can't wait to share this with you and I am even more excited to be teaching these. So, here goes...

(new class #1... EEEKKKK!!)

True Colors: Cold-Worked Bezels & Colorful Camouflage

This is a class based on a wire embroidery technique I teach in my new book... with an added twist. Instead of using rustic patinas that take a little extra time to develop, we'll play around with adding fun embossed color patinas. This technique can translate into all sorts of components for jewelry be they pendants, links, or clasps. To read more about the class, pop over to the Bead Cruise Classes page. I soooo can.not.wait to teach this!! I'll be making my glass cabochons for students (though you could use any cabochon for the technique), and we'll be cutting metal, dapping washers, sewing with wire, and creating one of a kind finished pieces.

(new class #2... whoop whoop!)

Sweet Tweeter: Embroider A Flock

Does this little guy look familiar? You might be thinking of his brother shown on the cover project of Rustic Wrappings!!  As a little back story, I had an aha moment a couple of years ago while in the sewing section of the book store. I then spent months working on developing a technique for embroidering with wire before adding it to the new book. I'm good at keeping secrets, yes? I am so excited that I can finally put it all out there and I hope you'll join me for the fun that will be exploring the possibilities that this new technique has to offer. I can't not even begin to explain the peaceful feeling that washes over me when I work on wire embroidered projects. This is going to fantastic, I know it!! Again, all the details are over on the Bead Cruise Classes page.

Finally, I'll also be teaching a 3rd, optional, class. I'm bringing back Snaptastic for cruisers again! The seven students I had in class absolutely loved what they learned. (So much so, I really need to ask them to write some reviews for me!!) So, I decided I needed to give others a chance to get in on the experience. I taught this in a kind of lecture style way with lots of hands on stuff too. Being on the cruise gets you into the class for half the cost of the online ecourse too, which is a total bonus!

As a side note, I hope to be sharing lots more samples of the types of finished projects here on the blog. So, visit often to see the goodies as I finish them up!

Okay... so who is coming along this time?!? You have 11 months to save your pennies, treat yourself to the beading experience of a lifetime, and make some incredible memories while learning some really cool new techniques.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Fencing 1
Fencing 2

:: remember when I told you a while back that my cousin was moving in just 5 houses down the street and she is bringing her 2 horses with her... we helped work on the pasture fences this weekend
:: I love watching Lauren and Amber (my cousin's daughter, aka my 2nd cousin) together... it's like watching Charity (my cousin) and Bonnie (my little sister) all over again... there is going to be an incredible bond between them, despite the 4yr age difference
:: it's hard to work in a field in rain boots all day... it makes one's feet quite sore the next day
:: I was part of the rail crew and I now know what a ratcheting cordless screwdriver is... and yes, it is supposed to make that noise, I wasn't stripping the screws
:: picnic lunches and pizza dinners
:: oh so many HUGE rocks to unearth before setting too many posts
:: when it's said and done, Clover & Shamrock (the horses), will have nearly 3 full acres to roam

Fencing 3
Fencing 4

:: I'm going to learn to care for the horses and stables to help when they're out of town... I'm too excited about it
:: there is something so easy about being around family as neighbors instead of regular neighbors... they know you... it's okay
:: a few beers and a bonfire is the best way to end a long day of hard work... forget baths and bedtimes
:: I could feel where the sun kissed my nose and cheeks, the few times it came out from behind the clouds, when I finally made it to bed
:: and then... Spring break was over... the kids are all in school and I can find my routine again
:: it's balmy today... a whopping 80 degrees
:: my sister has finally seen the studio and we ended up rearranging the furniture... I like it
:: I picked up fresh rolls for burgers for dinner and something cold to drink tonight... perfect combination

Fencing 5
Long day of work should always end in a bonfire.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pretty Pictures

Way back in October when I was in NYC shooting the process photos for Rustic Wrappings, my editor said in passing "Oh, you need new headshots." Really? I didn't think I needed new headshots. Didn't I just have those taken? Okay, so it was three years ago. I suppose new professional shots were in order. When I got home, I marked the calendar for a date with the amazingly talented Kelli Marsh of Kelli Marsh Photography.

She did such an incredible job with the photos the first time around! I was excited to have her take my photos again, this time in my living, breathing, working, art studio... not my little ole basement. When I saw the proofs I was amazed! She captured images that were professional, pretty, bright, colorful, and I just can't tell you how much I love them!!

kelli marsh photography
copyright Kelli Marsh Photography

kelli marsh photography
copyright Kelli Marsh Photography

kelli marsh photography
copyright Kelli Marsh Photography

kelli marsh photography
copyright Kelli Marsh Photography

If you are local (or even not local, Kelli travels!) and you need photos done, for any reason (she specializes in kids and family portraits), get on Kelli's calendar. You will be so happy you did. You can see Kelli's portfolio at Kelli Marsh Photography, like her page on Facebook, or catch her updates on Twitter.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

At Sunrise

sunrise 1
sunrise 2

Yesterday, one of my projects had me quite literally banging my head against a table in frustration and lack of inspiration. The beads just weren't speaking to me, so I had to walk away. I couldn't ignore it for long though, deadlines are deadlines after all. So, in light of kids that did not want to be dragged to the studio for the fourth day in a row, I made my way to work in the wee morning hours, alone for the first time, before anyone was awake. I'm oh so very glad I did. Not only did I find the inspiration I needed to finish my project, I witnessed my space glow in the most brilliant of ways. The honey colored hues only lasted for a new minutes before the sun moved past that magical angle that sets off colors like these. It totally filled me up, eased the tension in my shoulders, and made me relax a bit. I needed that. All I had on my plate for this week seems so much more manageable now. It's all getting done. Phew.   

sunrise 3
sunrise 4
sunrise 5

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Insta-studio Love

Everything's in. Moving things around tomorrow.

Oh how quickly I'm learning what a challenge those bright windows are going to be when it comes to taking studio photos. I haven't really taken the time yet to shoot with my Nikon much, but if the struggles my iPhone is having is any indication of what's to come, it should be quite the learning experience. So much light pours in that everything not in the light looks pitch black, even though the room is quite bright. I'm babbling though. I can do some research on this photographic situation when I'm better settled and past my deadlines.

Glass station

In the short time that Lauren and I spent at the new studio yesterday, I just had to set up my lampworking station. It was all I could think about and I think it was my heart and mind's way of saying what they truly want to be focused on. It's especially obvious when you know that all these pending deadlines this week are finished jewelry related, not lampworking, and I have yet to set up the jewelry stuff. EEK! I hope to get more time for set up today and start to tackle a project or two. A proper studio tour is definitely on hold for a bit, but I'm getting there.

Jewelry station in progress

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


cartwheels 2

Yippee! Yes! Yahoo!

The studio remodel is 99% complete (who knew the window was smashed under that paper and the glass needs to be replaced?), I have the keys, and all my goodies have been moved from #307 to #348. Thank heavens for a husband that realized my stress level was reaching its limit. After about a half dozen frantic calls to him at work, he took the afternoon off and we got it all done. Naturally, there is still plenty more to do. Everything is piled willy nilly here and there and I still need to settle on a furniture layout. But at least I'm in there and I can start nesting and setting up. This long narrow space is going to be a challenge after having a squatty square one. I do love it though!

And, hmmm... I wonder how it would look with my twinkle lights all tacked to the black wall instead of painting it white?

ps... I did not tell her to make that face! It was a pleasant surprise when I loaded the photos up to my computer. Told ya she is a character. AND, if you want to add cool frames to your photos in Photoshop, check out this stripey set from Brandi Hussey at

Monday, April 09, 2012

Moving Day?

break 1

:: it's Spring Break... we're being lazy... at least for the next couple of hours
:: it's *supposed* to be studio moving day... as of Thursday, Saturday was moving day, then Friday said it was Monday (today)... we'll see
:: I hate limbo... my over planning personality wants things to happen at set times a set way
:: Easter was nice... we went up to my sister's for a simple lunch and we went for a walk down Oxford St where there are 85 sugar magnolia trees in bloom... the weather was delightful
:: we had a little Masters party on Saturday and I bought a chocolate cream pie from Wegmans... I had several slices throughout the day yesterday
:: the Easter Bunny stuffed eggs with Rice Krispie Treats this year...
:: there are still 5 eggs missing... hmmm... wonder where they were hidden
:: got an awesome email on Friday that I can't wait to share with y'all
:: I totally plan on recreating this photo in the new studio... with Lauren, now that she is an expert cart wheeler like her Momma

break 2

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cranky Color

Yesterday, I was cranky. The kind of cranky that is caused by nothing going the way it was planned. I had woken up with a very clear vision for the day and all the energy I needed to make it all happen. Then, my middle child woke up with a head cold and didn't want to go to school. It threw a nasty wrench in my plans, lemme tell ya. Not that I don't want to be there for my kids when they are sick, mind you. It's just I have been dealing with sick kids for days and days and days now. My house, it would seem, is a cesspool of disease and germs. Ugh, Yuck, Gross! I girl can only take so much before crankity crank crankness sets in.

I was so cranky I tweeted "argh. i have no idea what to do with myself today now that i'm stuck home again. for once, i'm in no mood to clean. i'm pouting." Oh yes, a great deal of pouting was happening. Along with my crankiness. I don't know about you, but when I wake up with a vision, and I can't act on it and make it a reality, I can't think of anything else in the whole wide world I want to do. Nothing. Zip. Nada, Zilch. Thankfully, I have friends that can think for me! Lindsey reminded me of what I did one of the last times I was in this kind of mood... that I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself-mood...  seek the "Color of the Day". Last time I found A Lion's Share of Brown. When I checked yesterday's color of the day, it was Cherry Tomato. My mood greatly improved.

Pantone's COD

Cherry Tomato, what an unusual color for early April. In the red family, not my usual go to color. I wasn't quite sure I could find any Cherry Tomato when I first started thinking on it. Then, I opened my eyes and started hunting about my house. Oh, it's there all right. Take a look...
Cherry Tomato 1
Cherry Tomato 2
Cherry Tomato 3

Shortly after starting my Cherry Tomato scouting, Andrew decided his cold wasn't so bad and I took him to school. I was able to get those things done I had been hoping to and then some. YEAH! I found lots of Cherry Tomato in the studio, but my camera battery was dead at that point and most of the red was packed away anyhow. Peps, this is a such a good exercise to open up your eyes to the unexpected colors around you. You must try it. Pop over to Pantone's Color Of The Day any time you need a nudge in the right color direction.

While we are on the topic of color, my mood was thrown right back into cranky when I popped into the new studio on my way home later in the afternoon. The painter spray painted the entire window wall BLACK! Black... I mean like black, black. Ceiling black. My studio was suddenly cave like with every bit of sun being sucked into the oblivion of the wall and ceiling. The building manager said they can't put it back to white. I'll have to do it on my own. Sigh, I have SO much other work to do (my latest Color Canvas piece is due next week!). I did not need painting a wall up to a 15ft ceiling on my list. Argh.

At least I was able to get all the measurements I needed to start settling on how the new space with be laid out. Rearranging all those little (to scale) furniture pieces was quite satisfying. Though I'm sure not as satisfying as it will be to finally be in the space.

Studio lay out option 2

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Packing Up

packing 1
packing 2

It's finally starting to really feel like this move is going to happen. Yesterday had me up high on a ladder taking down all those twinkle lights I put up back in January of 2011. As I worked my way around the room, unwrapping them and pulling the staples, it truly felt like I had just put them up. It was only the layers of dust and yellowing of my paper lanterns that showed how much time has passed in this space.

I haven't decided if fifteen months is a long or short time. It is definitely long enough to settle into and love a place. I know you all already know how much I L.O.V.E my studio, but the more I think on it, it isn't that walls and tables and chairs themselves I love. It is having a space that is wholely my own that I love. So, it was with a very eager heart, not a nostalgic or sad one, that I was filling boxes yesterday. I can't wait to set up the new studio and start falling in love with it. 

Soon, people. The move is happening soon.

new studio floors 1
As of April 2, the floors are finished. Just needs lights, sink, & paint.

new studio floors 2
This photo was taken by Chelsea Foehr of Delish Glass, my new next door neighbor. She sent it to me via Facebook so I could see the progress. She thought I was home sick. But nope, I was just down the hall. It was later in the day though then when I took my shots. So, you can see the finished floor better.