Thursday, December 31, 2009

If you'd really like to see the action of a New Year's celebration you can go to Earth Cam. They have live feeds from Times Square, Paris, and all over the world. Enjoy, and have a happy one. Sharon

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Warmest tootsies in Town

This is my pair of Tootsie toasters. You heat the microwave for under a minute and tuck into your socks or slippers. The heat will last about 30 minutes.

After I wrote yesterdays post I thought you might want to know where I got those incredible toaster slipper warmers. The Ferris Wheels seemed to have by far the most practical and wonderful things to keep you warm. I'm attaching a few photos, along with their descriptions, so you can see the quality on these items. I don't know about you but I can not think or be creative when I feel like my feet are going to attach to the floor with ice crystals. So, if you suffer from chronically cold or overworked tootsies give them a try. This you are going to love!!!!!

New Addition to the Toy Pile

This will be a quicky. The photo is of a new tool I purchased about three months ago. It's a flat lap machine for grinding down stones for lapidary and glass. Of course, for glass. I'm kind of having a great time making these disc beads and then grinding and polishing up the flat sides.

It's a tad on the time consuming side because you want to make enough of them to make it worth while to do it. Think production line! The reason behind that (for me) is that you have to work your way through the diamond grit wheels. 170 grit all they way to 1200. There are actually four wheels to grind and then one more to create that nicely polished front window. Since you have to change that machine's wheel 4-5 times to properly finish one bead you might as well be finishing a half a dozen all at once.

The one you see me holding the bead on is an Inland grinder with an 8" wheel surface to work on.
Jeri Warhaftig (JeriBeads) recommended it to me. She had originally used a six inch one but switched because it is easier to hold things to the larger work surface. After having done this I can't imagine using a smaller surface area. Her book, Glass Bead Workshop, is a must have for the serious beadmaker.

I'm thinking maybe I'd like to try some "Geode" beads. " A Geode bead encases a decorative element within a layer glass. The bead is then cold-worked." That is the definition I pulled from somewhere - maybe Jeri's book. Geode beads look alot like the stones but you can reveal just about anything cased under that glass. B -U-TI- FULL.

Volume 5 is ready! 104 coe Geode Beads This Ebook shows how to layer silver colors and bevel windows into beads to create amazing geode effects! A simple Bevel Machine, wet tile saw or glass grinder is needed to create glass geodes. Rocio Bearer is the author and she already has some great books on the market.

Some quick post, huh? Procrastination is a whole different topic!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Simply Wonderful Week

I certainly hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday! It would be good too if you're trying out a few of those steps in previous posts. I should really start keeping a countdown of things that were decluttered. I wish my lampworking desk had been among them, unfortunately it was not. The sorry part might be that I think I could declutter for about a year and never get it totally complete. Maybe the thirteenth step ought to be acceptance of certain personality traits that aren't hurting anyone. About the only thing I hoard are beading supplies....and I'm in great company on that one.

I received some pretty nifty presents this year. My DIL and son sandblasted a glass bulb they purchased at Michael's Arts and Crafts. It was beautiful and will be cherished forever. And, my daughter found something that will remind of her every day.

My feet are always must be poor circulation. I have had these awful cramps in my legs for years and finally - one very astute family doctor suggested I get a good pair of wool slippers from LL Bean. He noted that his nursing home patients leg cramps were reduced ten fold when he insisted they be given heavy slippers. Trust me, it works. Well, back to the story. My daughter, Kate, found these totally awesome microwavable footshaped pads that go inside your slippers. Whoo Hoo, they are incredible. Instant foot warmth.

And the eldest child?...he made a special trip North to bring me my granddaughter. We all went to see the movie - Avatar. I'm thinking flying dragons look like a whole lot of fun. And her precious smiles and hugs warmed my heart to the core.

Tomorrow, back to the torching and posting about some new beady goodies.

I hope your Holiday was like a warm slipper, a granddaughter's hug, and a reflection of love in a Christmas bulb.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Last but not Least of the Steps

Let's, slow down, enjoy. After I returned from seeing friends yesterday I started up again. It gave me some great energy to sit, talk, and see my friends new work. Her faeries are just to die for and she's now making a necklace of faeries crawling up and down tree branches. I know the photos on her sight my not do them justice but you will love owning one. I own three of them myself. Check her out at Mystic Swan. Today I finished cleaning my end table. Sound like it just needed a dusting, right? Oh how wrong one can be. To justify the fact that I plop everything I am working on right there and let it accumulate until i can not find my tools I refer to as one of those balancing stone towers you see people make. Mine just happened to be unfinished artwork and paperwork.

So now...........the rest of the story. Steps 10 through 12.

10. Do everything you can to eschew debt. Remember that you’re attempting to simplify your life here, so you don’t need to purchase more of what will complicate and clutter your life. If you can’t afford it, let it go until you can. By going into debt, you’ll just add layers of anxiety onto your life. That anxiety will then take you away from your peace, which is where you are when you’re in-Spirit. When you have to work extra hard to pay off debts, the present moments of your life are less enjoyable; consequently, you’re further away from the joy and peace that are the trademarks of inspiration. You’re far better off to have less and enjoy the days of your life than to take on debt and invite stress and anxiety where peace and tranquility could have reigned. And remember that the money you have in your possession is nothing but energy—so refuse to plug in to an energy system that’s not even there.

11. Forget about the cash value. I try not to think about money too frequently because it’s been my observation that people who do so tend to think about almost nothing else. So do what your heart tells you will bring you joy, rather than determining whether it will be cost-effective. If you’d really enjoy that whale-watching trip, for instance, make the decision to do so—don’t deny yourself the pleasures of life because of some monetary detail. Don’t base your purchases on getting a discount, and don’t rob yourself of a simple joy because you didn’t get a break on the price. You can afford a happy, fulfilling life, and if you’re busy right now thinking that I have some nerve telling you this because of your bleak financial picture, then you have your own barrier of resistance.

12. Make an attempt to free yourself from placing a price tag on everything you have and do—after all, in the world of Spirit, there are no price tags. Don’t make money the guiding principle for what you have or do; rather, simplify your life and return to Spirit by finding the inherent value in everything. A dollar does not determine worth, even though you live in a world that attempts to convince you otherwise. Remember your spirit. When life tends to get overly complex, too fast, too cluttered, too deadline oriented, or too type A for you, stop and remember your own spirit. You’re headed for inspiration, a simple, peaceful place where you’re in harmony with the perfect timing of all creation. Go there in your mind, and stop frequently to remember what you really want.

A man who personified success at the highest intellectual and social levels would hardly seem one to quote on simplifying our life, yet here’s what Albert Einstein offers us on this subject: “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.” Wow! I’d say this is pretty good advice, wouldn’t you?

Peace Out! Catch you tomorrow with some beads..............Sharon

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Steps....

In an effort to practice what I preach - and being old enough to do that - I cleaned three cupboards. I had over twenty plastic tops with no matching bottoms, hahahaha. I just knew it!

5. Return to the simplicity of nature. There’s nothing more awe inspiring than nature itself. The fantasy to return to a less tumultuous life almost always involves living in the splendor of the mountains, the forests, or the tundra; on an island; near the ocean; or beside a lake. These are universal urges, since nature is created by the same Source as we are, and we’re made up of the same chemicals as all of nature (we’re stardust, remember?). Your urge to simplify and feel inspired is fueled by the desire to be your natural self—that is, your nature self. So give yourself permission to get away to trek or camp in the woods; swim in a river, lake, or ocean; sit by an open fire; ride horseback through trails; or ski down a mountain slope. This doesn’t have to mean long, planned vacations that are months away—no matter where you live, you’re only a few hours or even moments away from a park, campground, or trail that will allow you to enjoy a feeling of being connected to the entire Universe.

6. Put distance between you and your critics. Choose to align yourself with people who are like-minded in their search for simplified inspiration. Give those who find fault or who are confrontational a silent blessing and remove yourself from their energy as quickly as possible. Your life is simplified enormously when you don’t have to defend yourself to anyone, and when you receive support rather than criticism. You don’t have to endure the criticism with anything other than a polite thank-you and a promise to consider what’s been said—anything else is a state of conflict that erases the possibility of your feeling inspired. You never need to defend yourself or your desires to anyone, as those inner feelings are Spirit speaking to you. Those thoughts are sacred, so don’t ever let anyone trample on them.

7. Take some time for your health. Consider that the number one health problem in America seems to be obesity. How can you feel inspired and live in simplicity if you’re gorging on excessive amounts of food and eliminating the exercise that the body craves? Recall that your body is a sacred temple where you reside for this lifetime, so make some time every single day for exercising it. Even if you can only manage a walk around the block, just do it. Similarly, keep the words portion control uppermost in your consciousness—your stomach is the size of your fist, not a wheelbarrow! Respect your sacred temple and simplify your life by being an exerciser and a sensible eater. I promise that you’ll feel inspired if you act on this today!

8. Play, play, play! You’ll simplify your life and feel inspired if you learn to play rather than work your way through life. I love to be around kids because they inspire me with their laughter and frivolity. In fact, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Wayne, you’ve never grown up—you’re always playing.” I take great pride in this! I play onstage when I speak, and I’m playing now as I write. Many years ago I was given a tremendous opportunity to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The man who took a chance on me, booking me even though I was an unknown at the time, was a talent coordinator named Howard Papush. It was my first big break, and I went on to appear on The Tonight Show 36 additional times. Now it’s my turn to say thank you to Howard. He’s written a wonderful book titled When’s Recess? Playing Your Way Through the Stresses of Life, which I encourage you to read. (Howard also conducts workshops that teach people how to play and have fun in life.) In the book, Howard shares this great quote from Richard Bach: “You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.” I couldn’t agree more—by all means, get back in touch with your real, playful self, and take every opportunity to play! Notice how it makes everything so sweet, and so simple.

9. Slow down. One of Gandhi’s most illuminating observations reminds us that “there is more to life than increasing its speed.” This is great advice for simplifying your life—in fact, slow everything way down for a few moments right here and now. Slowly read these words. Slow your breathing down so that you’re aware of each inhalation and exhalation... When you’re in your car, downshift and relax. Slow down your speech, your inner thoughts, and the frantic pace of everything you do. Take more time to hear others. Notice your inclination to interrupt and get the conversation over with, and then choose to listen instead. Stop to enjoy the stars on a clear night and the cloud formations on a crisp day. Sit down in a mall and just observe how everyone seems in a hurry to get nowhere. By slowing down, you’ll simplify and rejoin the perfect pace at which creation works. Imagine trying to hurry nature up by tugging at an emerging tomato plant—you’re as natural as that plant, so let yourself be at peace with the perfection of nature’s plan.

Tomorrow I am going to shop for gifts and visit with one of my favorite artists. I have finally finished a few of my wax models to be cast in silver and we're going to do the investment (plaster) casts for them. Maybe this soul searching and simplifying is working. To get to the new you have to finish with the old or throw it away. Whew, maybe this is an early New Year's resolution...........nah, lifestyle change. Sounds more trendy! Later...........

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday, Clutter, and Creativity

I was making some beads today and couldn't find the right stick of glass on my bench. No surprise there. I had it cleaned up about six months ago and haven't cleaned again through several palette changes. Face it - it's cluttered (a huge understatement because it's a disaster) and you don't work efficiently when you are moving hot pieces of glass on top of the pile with a tungsten pick looking for the right one. Worse yet, when I can't find it I grab a new stick and it ends up in the pile. The last time I cleaned this up it took me two days to heat pieces together into usable sizes and a crap load of them ended up in a scrap box of shorts. If you know someone who would like them send me their address and I will dispatch them a box pronto.

I do this with my cupboards too. I have one (it's all I will admit to at the moment), I throw the plastics into with the cookies sheets and such. When it "blows" I look like the lady on the commercial that needs the special stacking plastic tops. My husband even brought me a box of Chex cereal from one today; he's purging too, that was outdated. They make that stuff to last longer than most vehicles. We don't eat cereal so I'm thinking it was left from some long ago Christmas party mix. Good Grief!

Nothing brings this to the light of day for me like being on the verge of the holidays. Don't you just feel like you ought to have things all neat and tidy this time of year? It's like the closure of the year brings about the need to purge. Closets, kitchen,'s overwhelming. While in the middle of this panic zone of figuring out where to begin I remembered an article I had set aside for just this moment. I think I'll share it in installments over the next couple of days because it's fairly long - but worth it!

It also made some sense for me because for nearly twenty-two years I have been immersed in a twelve-step program for youthful offenders. I can not profess to be particularly religious but it could be said that I am spiritual. The introduction and first four steps follow....

Inspiration Sweep It Clean, Inside & Out 12 ways to simplify your life and set your spirit free!

Published: April 28, 2009 By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Clean out the clutter; in your mind, your appointment book, your garage... and let your true spirit come out and play!

FOR A MOMENT, let’s imagine what it would be like to be fully alive without a physical shell or any of the stuff we need and desire for maintaining life on Earth. We’d have a mental energy that allowed us to move forward or backward, up or down, instantly creating whatever we desired. We’d be free to wallow in an exquisite existence without time or space as we know it. We’d be in a state of pure bliss, in love with everything and everyone. We’d have no duties or bills to tend to, no fear of losing anything, no one judging us, no possessions to insure, no demands on our time, and no goals to achieve.

What we’re envisioning is actually the world of Spirit, which we experienced before we came here and will return to when we shed our body (or as William Butler Yeats poetically called it, our “tattered coat upon a stick”).

Inspiration is a state of being here now in this material world, while at the same time reconnecting to our spiritual origins. In order to be receptive to inspiration, we need to eliminate the ego clutter that accumulates all too easily for most of us—after all, if we’re preoccupied with events and activities that have nothing to do with inspiration, we’re unlikely to notice its summons. So in order to achieve a reunion with our ultimate calling, we need to emulate the clear, uncomplicated world of Spirit.

This doesn’t mean that we should sit around doing nothing, awaiting Spirit’s arrival; instead, it means having faith that our spiritual connection flourishes in a life dedicated to joy, love, and peace. If our daily activities are so overwhelming that we don’t make these things our priority, then we’re disregarding the value of living a simple life.


Here are 12 very specific tools for simplifying your life. Begin using them today if you’re serious about hearing that ultimate call to inspiration.

1. Unclutter your life. You’ll feel a real rush of inspiration when you clear out stuff that’s no longer useful in your life: If you haven’t worn it in the past year or two, recycle it for others to use. Get rid of old files that take up space and are seldom, if ever, needed. Donate unused toys, tools, books, bicycles, and dishes to a charitable organization. Get rid of anything that keeps you mired in acquisitions that contribute to a cluttered life. In the words of Socrates, “He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.” So the less you need to insure, protect, dust, reorganize, and move, the closer you’ll be to hearing inspiration’s call.

2. Clear your calendar of unwanted and unnecessary activities and obligations. If you’re unavailable for Spirit, you’re unlikely to know the glow of inspiration. God will indeed work with you and send you the guidance—and the people—you need, but if you’re grossly overscheduled, you’re going to miss these life-altering gifts. So practice saying no to excessive demands and don’t feel guilty about injecting a dose of leisure time into your daily routine.

3. Be sure to keep your free time free. Be on the lookout for invitations to functions that may keep you on top of society’s pyramid, but which inhibit your access to joyful inspiration. If cocktail parties, social get-togethers, fund-raising events, or even drinking-and-gossiping gatherings with friends aren’t really how you want to spend your free time, then don’t. Begin declining invitations that don’t activate feelings of inspiration. I find that an evening spent reading or writing letters, watching a movie with a loved one, having dinner with my children, or even exercising alone is far more inspiring than getting dressed to attend a function often filled with small talk. I’ve learned to be unavailable for such events without apologizing, and consequently have more inspired moments freed up.

4. Take time for meditation and yoga. Give yourself at least 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and make conscious contact with God. I’ve written an entire book on this subject called Getting in the Gap, so I won’t belabor it here. I will say that I’ve received thousands of messages from people all over the world, who have expressed their appreciation for learning how to simplify their life by taking the time to meditate. I also encourage you to find a yoga center near you and begin a regular practice. The rewards are so powerful: You’ll feel healthier, less stressed, and inspired by what you’ll be able to do with and for your body in a very short time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

High Expectations

So how much overtime do you think one might have to work to purchase a camera like this? Santa, put this one on my wish list! So what kind of camera are you using? I have a nice Sony but I'd like to go back to using a Nikon - I so loved my work horse Nikon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh Lordy To Be Forty

Well, I bet you are all thinking it's about time she showed up. Sorry, I've been incredibly busy and I know it's no excuse but surgery will do that to you. Let's see, so what have I been up to other than that. This year I managed to get a small tree up. It's tiny but - pretty. And, I've been working on some new waxes to cast when I'm able. I'm looking forward, like a gazillion others to the posting of the on-line Bead and Button catalog for 2010. Things more forward.

I've made a few beads - not many, but my studio had been on a list of places I couldn't get to no matter how I wanted to. Coming up soon though will be an interview with my friend, Mallory Hoffman. But, before she answers all those questions I sent her and requests for photos I'll try and get some art and goodies up here for everyone to enjoy.

Oh, and about that title. Forty was a good time.........high energy...........

It's good to be back.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The World's Biggest Bead ???

The beadmaker's name is Daniel Silverberg. He doesn't make beads commercially; he does it because he loves the work.

This bead is made of fossil-bearing limestone. It is 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter and averages 9 inches (23 cm) in width.

Atop the bead is a piece of carved California jade. He couldn't find the picture of Clark the cat resting in the hole.

In Dan's words: "There is something elusive and fundamental about beads and bead making that can't be more than provisionally defined. I am, however, always interested in other perspectives and experiences."

By the way, Dan says he finds it curious that people ask if the big bead above is carved all the way around. It is.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Skullishly Wonderful

How do you like this new skull style? This was created inside of a Geldard inspired window bead to show off my skullish talents. Only problem with this one is that I so overworked it that I lost track of keeping the entire bead warm and it developed a crack the day after it was taken out of the kiln. DRATS! The concept is solid and the bead is a great variation on skull work so I will do it over. Also, it was a great place to use a tip from Brad Pearson (he was a presenter at the Gathering). Brad recommended to anyone using black for detail work that they replace it with TAG Oxblood. It’s stiff and instead of reducing itself to purple when pulled into a stringer, or worse yet IMHO spreading like it was laid down on Ivory glass, it stays crisp. It may not be a deep blue black but it’s a definite improvement when you want to get a ridiculously small detail into something. Thanks Jennifer and Brad - - - and all of the other sharing and giving lampworkers for the continued practice of information sharing. You guys ROCK!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Monsters to Love

I’m hoping you will all think that no news has been good news, hahahaha. There isn’t much of an excuse for not writing in the blog except that things here are just hopping. Let’s take for example one of the new monster pieces (named: "Do they Bite?")...listed, and sold to a good customer. I can’t help it I just love these guys.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Whoo Hoo! I wish I knew how to do a screen save - ack, I don't! But I wanted to tell you the wonderful Ms. Mallory Hoffman has included me in an Etsy Treasury!! Thank You Mallory so very much. If you want to take a peek and make a comment here is the link: Lampwork Treasury

Monday, September 21, 2009


It's my skully time of year and I've been making quite a few sugar skulls. Glass ones bedcaue I certainly don't need to be making, or much less eating, real ones. I've been doing some Internet searches and a whole lot of on-line reading lately and I thought I'd pass on a fun blog (Scribbit) I found in my search. I think I first saw this recipe on this blog and I am attaching a copy. I just can not remember, but I thought it was cool enough to pass on. You probably already know this but I didn't and I love brown sugar on my oatmeal. Winter is coming!! Barf.

Homemade Brown Sugar

1-cup white sug1-2 tbsp molasses
Use 1 tbsp molasses for light brown sugar and 2 tbsp for dark

Just mix the two ingredients together. I think you could mix it by hand in a bowl or just do it in a plastic bag and squeeze it. Store in a clean plastic bag or a nice mason jar. Hey, it would be nice for gift giving too!

How simple is that?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Skully Inspiration in MY STASH

Among the things I like to do when I have time. Time???? Okay, well..., that's a relative term around here. Anyway, what I like to do is quilt. Mostly I think I like the hunt of the fabrics that fit the theme I'm interested in or the color scheme. Then you have to find the perfect quilting pattern that might suit the fabrics you've chosen. It's kind of a chicken or the egg issue. Sometimes you find this killer pattern and the hunt is on. Other times it's the fabric and the it's the pattern that is the secondary find. Either way, in a great quilt they go hand in hand. Matching the two in unison is important. It separates a great quilt that "works" from one that's ho-hum. Art is art no matter what the medium.

This's purely personal. I love sugar skulls - Mexican holidays and color schemes - I have a skull tattoo and I have collected skulls (kind of a biology thing) since I was a kid. I'm a flower child - a DIY'er - a boomer. This is the perfect time of year to find skull themed fabric.

I have found my stash in all kinds of stores. It's like going to bead stores. There is almost always just a little something different in each one from a different manufacturer. I've been in old Ben Franklin's, new Joann's, and some local fabric stores. The hunt is fantastic. The look on customers and clerks faces is priceless.

When I take my purchase to the cutting table there always seems to be a line. Fabric stores are cutting back on employees like everyone else. There is always camaraderie among sewers - just like beadmakers, jewelers, and everywhere people meet with a common interest. We talk in lines while we wait to make our purchases. It never fails. At the moment they look at the fabrics (currently skull related) and they have to say, "Wow, you are going to make a lot of Halloween things." I really wish I had the pink streak in my hair right now. Since I am usually out of town (we only have a Wally World here and I've already scouted the fabric department and made my initial purchases), after the first opening Halloween conversation, I decided to have fun with it. Now my answer to the inevitable of question of what I'm doing with all of THAT -

"No, not Halloween. But, it is my time for year to shop for skullish items . You see - I collect them. It's a kind of garish collection and a family favorite. I've made lots of quilts but we think this is the one the kids will eventually fight over when we pass. We all have skull tattoo's and my kids are a varied lot. Undertakers and crime scene people seem to multiply like rabbits in my family. Uncle Louie was in CSI clean-up. I mean someone has to do it after all. Look I have this cute girlie skull on my back (I pull down my shirt). "


I wonder if they will ever look at a conversation about fabric the same way again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creature from the Black Lagoon

The movie called “Creature from the Black Lagoon “came out in 1954. I don’t know when I saw it but I was just a kid. I thought it was the spookiest film I’d ever see…maybe it’s where my aversion to sharks came from. That’s worth a thought or two for a psychiatrists chair some day, NOT! Jaw’s maybe??? Hmmmmmm, I’ll ponder that one on my own.

Excuse the regression but it seems to fit the topic. I’ve been making monster beads for awhile. I make scary ones and cute ones. Mostly I like to think of them as part of a line of beads. Doing “variations on a theme” seems to hit a core need I have to explore the possibilities of a subject. Monsters and other things that go bump in the night have always been with me and probably always will. Recently I enjoyed seeing
Monsters, Inc. with some of the kids at work. We laughed until we were crying. I adored it so I think I’ll get my own copy. I hadn’t seen it until then.

Were you ever one of those kids that put a flashlight in the bed with them? As an adult I’m not quite sure what that would have to protect me but I don’t think a flashlight would be top on my current list. That could actually make you pee your pants – turning a flashlight on and looking close-up into a monsters face. I guess I could have bopped it on his head after the fright he gave me when I flashed the lights in his eye!

I made this monster with warts bead and then noticed how much it reminded me of that first scary movie. I just had to go and find the movie shot of it. See the resemblance? I guess inspiration can just strike you from any angle. Another movie I love is the “
Goonies“Hey you guys……!”. I have got to go and figure out what that characters name was. He fits right along with….Chunk, that was it! Here come the chunk beads. They’ll be part of the Monster Collection. So far we have: Mom’s Little Monsters, Wart Monsters, and now Chunkies.

Onward and Upward!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Miller Mania

One of the most fun things I do is take classes. I do it to upgrade my skill set and enjoy the company of other artists and crafts people. One of my favorite teachers is Sharilyn Miller.

She learned her trade from the great (and that should be underlined/bolded/and have neon lights attached) Lynn Merchant. I consider Lynn the mother of all that is wire. If you are tracing back an Earthquake to the epicenter I think somewhere you are going to find this artist at the beginning of some great careers. Including the likes (shameless name dropping here) of Louise Duhamel, Connie Fox, Sharilyn Miller, and a plethora of others.

I’ve been lucky enough to have taken from Sharilyn more than once. She is a west coast girl with a wonderful studio in Idlewild, California. If I could afford the class and the airline ticket I’d fly out there and spend a week. Alas, until that big lottery in the sky hits me with a bolt of lightening I’m SOL. In the meantime she does come out east once in a blue moon. She has been at Portia and Lee Mandrels Gathering Place several times. This time she was at the Bead Weasel, courtesy of its’ great owner Ann Sturdevant.

If you can take a class from Sharilyn, I HIGHLY recommend it. You will never look at wire the same way. She is a master at the twist and turn, using your hands correctly, and the subtle nuisances that make a masterful wire art piece.

If you can’t get to a class then get the next best thing – her books, Bead On a Wire and Contemporary Copper Jewelry, plus you can get on the list for the new one coming up. I know I will be.

Above you can check out a few photos from class. Sharilyn is busy teaching and, of course, that’s me and Sharilyn, and there is one of the bracelets (Sharilyn’s bracelets) we were working to replicate. As soon as I get my clasps on mine I’ll take a photo and share them too.

Thanks Sharilyn for another great class! And to Anne for having the courage to have her stop here on her way to Europe.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

How Time Flies

I've got two weeks of bloggy posts to catch up on....and a ton to say. But first, let me tell you how honored I am to be included in Eileen's Thursday theme. Take a click over there if you get a chance and guess at what the theme is..........

Did I ever tell you that Eileen and I are twins separated at birth? Take a look at our's part of how we met. We were both members of LEST. Lampwork, etc.'s Etsy Street Team.

Anyway, this is the beginning of a splurge of blogging so I can catch up with all of the great Artsie stuff going on here. Oh, and while you're visiting Eileen's blog spot don't forget to check out her Etsy too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gaffer Glass

I'm loving this stuff! I got it, I finally got it....Whoo Hoo.
Chalcedony, I love you.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I love a contest once in awhile and know a few of my friend do to so here is a list of them from that wonderful site Beading Daily: Go to it my friends....

September 2009

Around the World Stringing Challenge
Challenge yourself by creating a stringing or simple wirework project based on a theme. Top designs selected by readers and an "editor's choice" selection will be published in a future issue of Stringing magazine.
Complete Rules
Sponsor: Stringing
Deadline: September 7, 2009

"Sailors' Valentines" Reader Challenge
Sailors’ Valentines are mosaic collages made from shells and other objects, typically housed in an octagonal wooden frame. Make your own mixed-media version and submit a photo of it to this reader challenge.
Complete Rules
Sponsor: Cloth Paper Scissors
Deadline: September 8, 2009

November 2009

Beadwork Challenge
Submit a photo of your best beaded creation. One reader will be chosen to design a project with an upcoming Challenge kit. If chosen, you will have about three weeks to complete your project. Due to international shipping costs, this Challenge is limited to residents of the United States and Canada.
Complete Rules
Sponsor: Beadwork
Deadline: November 20, 2009

March 2010

"Make It Pretty!" Cloth Paper Scissors Calendar Contest
Create a mixed-media square based on the theme "Make It Pretty" for a chance to be featured in the 2011 calendar
Sponsor: Cloth Paper Scissors
Deadline: March 1, 2010

"Flavor of the Month" Quilting Arts Calendar Contest
Stitch, surface design, and embellish your favorite “Flavor of the Month” for a chance to featured in the 2011 calendar.
Complete Rules
Sponsor: Quilting Arts
Deadline: March 8, 2010


Beadwork's W.O.R.D ("What Our Readers Did")
Send photos of your projects to Work inspired by projects published in previous issues of Beadwork magazine are especially welcome. Selected submissions may be published in Beadwork magazine on the "Letters" page.

Jewelry Artist Monthly Design Challenge
Each month Jewelry Arist challenges artists to sketch a specific design challenge. A selection of sketches are published in the "Your Turn" section of the magazine. Complete rules and entry information in every issue of Jewelry Artist. Deadline varies (generally the 30th of the month).

Step by Step Beads "Gallery of Reader Work"
Step by Step Beads editor Leslie Rogalski periodically calls for reader submissions on a certain theme. Selected submissions may be published in the magazine or on the website. Submission details inside Step by Step Beads magazine.

Step by Step Wire Jewelry "Wire Works" Reader Gallery
Please send images of your original wire designs to Selected submissions may be published in Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jennifer Geldard at Rebecca's Studio

These are my favorite class beads from the Jennifer Geldard class.

Adornment Gallery - It's where you walk into Rebecca's Studio - Such great inspiration!

Rebecca, Lynn Mc Govern, and Jennifer

Class discussion about some of Jennifer's Beads

An extremely happy me between two of my favorite people.

I'm definitely late at posting this one. The weekend before the Gathering Susan Lambert and I were lucky enough to be involved in a class at "The Studio". Jennifer Geldard flew in for the weekend and taught.

Since Jennifer is one of my favorite people I jumped at the chance to be included in her class again. She was concerned that she had previously shown me things but she needn't have worried about that. First, I needed remedial work on enamels. Plus, we got to make the birds and I learned another way to use the type of petals we pulled at a Loren Stump class. Jen is always open and gracious with her knowledge

If you have a chance to take her class - DO IT! - you won't regret it.

I've thrown in some photos of our class and Rebecca's Studio and Adornment Gallery. It's an awesome place and she has some great teachers coming so get signed up soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scatching My Head

Nope, no fleas! No lice! Just puzzled as to why a person would go to this length to deflame their fellow lampworkers. I have contributed to this fund and I hope you will look it over and considering doing it too. There is a very disgrunted artist out there who is accusing people of fraud. I know I can be a little Pollyanna at times but this is just plain wrong. Please take the time to check a few things out for yourself -

Here is a link to the blog called : The Artisan Truth Report

Check out this link on Lampwork, etc. (The Lampworker's Forum)

Contribute to the Artisan and Glassworker's Legal Fund


Monday, August 10, 2009

Teaching and Swapping

Just a short post I should have gotten up before. Here is a photo from the Gathering when we were at the Bead Swap on Sunday night. It was so much fun. I will try and get photos of all of the beads I traded for tomorrow and get them posted. Everyone was so generous with their beads and conversation. I don't think I'll ever miss another one if at all possible. I have a necklace planned with some of the beads I received. I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful fish from Karla Klein. She is seated in the photo. And there is Sharon Peters who was so nice to stay in the photo so I could catch her, Ronit Dagan, and Karla together. Ronit had been taking to Karla about her beads. And, I have some wonderful coral pieces from Marcie Lamberson to add to it too. Do you sense a theme here? I thought they would look great in some free-form peyote and maybe some bead embroidery. I have some others to add in that necklace, including my own but I have to go back through the beads first to know which once this "Seaward" theme started to take form. Oh Poop, I can not recall the name of the wonderful beadmaker who is also in the photo. If you recognize her please remind me.

Saturday I was lucky enough to be a teacher once again at the
Bead Weasel. It's my favorite local (about as local as I'm going to get) bead store. Viking Knit is such a joy to do and pass on to others that I just love teaching it. I also love Anne Sturdevant at the Weasel. She's having Sharilyn Miller come in from California for a joyous six classes. Sharilyn is one of the true goddesses of wire working. If you ever get a chance to have a class with her do it! She will change the way you work with wire forever.

Well so much for my short post....catch you on the up side.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Favorite Poster

There is a story behind this one. When I was taking some college classes at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City my printmaking teachers name was Jack. I adored him. It was when I was doing a lot of printmaking. Lithographs, etching, silkscreening. It was all wonderfully new. Anyway, rambling on I am, his wife's brother was the Governor of Kansas (?). I think I'm getting this right. I hope I'm getting this right. so the story goes he was the one who posed for this poster. I have this poster and I think it's great. So far, it's my all time favorite!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Sorry I didn't get a chance to get back to posting the other night but here are a few new photos. It actually felt just a little bizarre to be in Miami and at a bead show. But, it was great fun. Susan Lambert and I shared a table and decided to go for a funky look. Actually for the silly designs on the table came from seeing JC Herrell do a terrifically classy looking table top for Bead and Button. We did anything but! We used colored markers and made a spiral to show off Susan's discs and, of course, my skulls got...a huge skull to sit on. We draped it off the front of the table and put out names there. Last, but not least, were the stick on crystals and sequin crowns we wore. We weren't classy but we sure had a lot of fun and sold some great beads too.

You can see Susan in the corner of a photo waiting on a customer (I think it was Fran from Kentucky - We had a class with her and Bonnie Blincoe about ten years ago in Kentucky) and the lady with the beautiful long hair is none other than Heather Ferman. She is a doll in person and just the same way she is on the phone when you order viking knit end caps. We were next to Annie Made It - she is from Michigan too! And behind us was a lady who was gracious and who's name I forgot (shoot me now!). Kitty corner behind was Trey Cornette - loved, loved, loved, his class - and his beads.

I loved the fact it was a smaller group than usual, although it was difficult for the ISGB to put on the conference for a smaller group. It just it made it easier to meet everyone and talk. Next year it will be Rochester, New York. They sent some representatives from their chamber to the conference who handled out some great literature on the area. It was nice to have some pre-info. The ISGB does a wonderful job of taking care of its members in any way possible and making the conference a blast to attend. If you're a beadmaker (or a designer) you ought to consider belonging.

Contact them and join the FUN! International Society of Glass Beadmakers. There, I made it easy for you to click away!

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Nearly Favorite Week is Baaaack!

That cuts it! I think I better learn to make some shark beads or Murrini! I'll probably do another posting later but I just couldn't help putting this up when I saw it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Miami - What A Trip

First, there were the sardine planes! I know, I know, it costs a lot of money to fly in a jet plane -but frankly if I were any more claustrophobic I'd flip out. I swear they have added more seats and less room over the years. It couldn't possibly be that I have gotten wider, hahahaha. Every flight we took was packed from stem to stern. Despite that, the three Amigo's ended up in Miami safe and sound. Lillian had already been there for a few days taking a Kim Field's bird class....Susan and I arrived later. And how do you like the views from the hotel suite? Darn, I wish Mallory and Angelina could have joined us. Tomorrow I'll show you photos of the Bead Bazaar, Open Torch, and who knows what! PLUS...I can't wait to show you all of the beads I traded for during the Sunday night bead swap. I'm a lucky girl!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eat my Heart out Glass Goods

Whoa, what a whirl-wind two weeks....Ann Arbor, a class with Jennifer Geldard, and then the "Gathering". SWIRL GIRL IS BACK!!! I hardly know where to start but I have a few photos to edit so I figure I'll start where I ended. These photos are of a few of the hundreds of great glassworks shown at Ann Arbor. Eat your heart out too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Ann Arbor!

Just a few of the silly selections from our trip to the the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. Most of this might be your usual art fair goofies but I thought I'd post them for everyone to see. Tomorrow, if given a chance with getting ready to leave for Miami I'll post a few more.

The guy is silver gray and he doesn't move much...until a kid walks up and whammy, a change of position. Great fun to watch and since I can't stand still for more than a minute or two I find it just amazing.

Don't you just love people? That was the best shot I could get of Little Bo-Peep was from the back. She's got guts I'll tell you. But I missed the fella in the roller skates dressed up like a drag queen.

Musicians of all kinds were everywhere. Here's the didgeridoo booth and his wonderful free demos and the kids on the corner dancing to music and trying to get everyone to buy their food.

My fave....and I missed the couple coming out the door who were in their late 50's, darn, the SAFE SEX store. Now that's a fun place.

Think of the fun I had.....all of this and more, and then there was the ART!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Counting down

MySpace Countdown Clocks

Children's Aquarium

Today was great fun! Finally, a day off. Went with the DH to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. He is usually participating but this year it's all about the recovery from surgery so we took a sabbatical from doing the show. Instead it was strickly a bus man's holiday. Lots of things to see and I took photos for show and tell, but not's too late. I wore a great piece from Mallory Hoffman and lots of artists admired it. They should, it's a great pendant. I'll add a photo of that to the line-up soon. For now, here is photo (sorry, it's a very poor one) of the "Cat Fish" I made for the Gathering. It will be included in the Aquarium for the Children's Hospital of Miami. You know me and kids!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Put a Tiger in Your Garden

Sorry I haven't been blogging - I've been gardening, making beads for the Gathering, making clay beads (so much fun!), and working on some viking knit pieces for an upcoming class. These Tiger Lilies came up after the first Spring blooms faded.... I think there are at least forty of them in the garden. What wonderful inspiration. I love gardens.