Friday, May 30, 2008


I don't know where this week went but it's Friday already and I feel like I haven't gotten much accomplished. Part of the week I helped my husband with his business, but other than emptying my wallet at Costco, I can't even think of much I've done. Maybe it's the heat that has arrived in Richmond....

Today I got the lead out and ran a bunch of errands this morning. Then I kicked back for a bit at the Yarn Lounge in Richmond and worked on a knitted sweater and then a crochet bag that is still semi-confounding me. Lucy went with me since her doggie friend Homer is the in-house yarn store dog. They had fun visiting but being more of a people-oriented dog, Lucy felt it her duty to personally greet each customer and then pester them for pats and head rubs, to the point that I had to continually rescue hapless customers and then finally we had to leave altogether. She had fun, though, and it was nice seeing the girls at the shop. =)

The bulk of the afternoon was spent at the piano restoration shop, where major clean up was needed after Michael finished a refinishing job last week. My job was scraping finisher off the floor where it ran here and there, tossing grubby towels, spent razor blades, sand paper, brillo pads, refinishing containers, coke cans, and a heap of other stinky, smelly, gooey, caustic, disgusting Yuck, of which there was plenty. I spent about three hours in there and it's 1/2 way back to presentable. Thank goodness for industrial fans and air conditioning.

Since 2006 I have had some of my work at an art gallery in downtown Richmond. Unfortunately they decided to turn their art gallery into an expanded high end furniture store. Yay, Richmond. Way to go. Anyway, the gallery isn't closing until August but I was so disgusted to hear the news that I went down and pulled my work from the shop. Now I am trying to decide what to do with it. I dumped it all out of the bag where it's been since early winter and cleaned up the metals. Some of this I still really like but other pieces I may pull apart and resurrect into new pieces. You can bet on seeing some of these on Etsy over the weekend.

Now we are off to Barnes & Noble to relax over magazines, ice tea and oatmeal cookies.
I can't resist seeing if the new Belle Armoire Jewelry is on the newstands. I am on pages 6-9. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a girl's weekend

This has been a whirlwind weekend. My husband went to PA for a family reunion. While he was away, my mom seized the opportunity to drive down from the Eastern Shore of VA and we made a long girl's weekend of it. We calculated that the last time we had such a weekend together was 1994.

The weekend was packed with activity. Saturday we hit Charlottesville for art supply shopping, shopping-shopping, and best of all, a semi-leisurely exploration of Whole Foods Charlottesville. oh boy. There were so many sample kiosks, we were in heaven. My mother, a retired high school Food Occupations teacher and a most excellent cook, loved every minute of it. I was more interested in whether Whole Foods had the new Basil-scented Meyers products yet. Unfortunately they didn't have any but I found some other goodies. Dog treats, organic peanut butter, scrumptuous organic apples, animal-testing-free make up... I came away with a weaker wallet for certain. The ride was lovely, the weather was beautiful.

Sunday we took a long drive to Jamestown, where we proceeded to drive the entire length of the Colonial Parkway, a lovely expanse of road bordering the James River for part of the trip and the York River on the rest. We took Lucy for a short swim in the York River but there were too many people enjoying the beaches and fine weather to really let her go too far.

Yesterday we saw the new Indiana Jones flick, ate chicken enchildas and lots of tasty salsa chips for dinner and then in the evening my mom taught me how to crochet. I've been a knitter for years but crochet feels WEIRD to me. I definitely need practice.

All too soon the time was up and my mother headed home this morning to my dad and their little dog Maggie. I had a lovely, lovely time.

Last week I worked up some new pieces for Etsy. Some of them use up a combination of the Humblebeads tutorial shell cane and also some metallic bits and pieces. I purposely pressed the shape of the pendant to crack open for a lovely hint of mystery. (hmmm... was it on purpose? Or is it meant to be that way?) I've got an upcoming gig with an artsy shop on Chincoteague Island, and some of this series of pendants will be made up into necklaces. If you are in the neighborhood, be sure to check out Lott's Arts 'n Things later in June for a look.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

20 + 20

I heart Premo! This is the stash I picked up from Michael's craft store 99 cent special that is still ongoing through May 24. I had no idea about this wonderful sale until Willa Cline spilled the beans to me the other day. thanks Willa! You're a sweetheart. =)
Normally I purchase one pound blocks from but it's always nice having more without paying shipping, plus I don't typically order straight colors such as orange and fuschia, so it's nice having these good varieties in 2 ounce packages.
I think I'll go back and get some more with my birthday money. yes, I am 20 + 20 today. I've had a nice day in spite of the milestone. I ate more junk food than I've eaten in the last month combined. We started at Starbucks, lunched at Mexican (again) and finished with a huge chocolate cake. Mmmmmm... I took half of the rest of the cake to our neighbor and hopefully can unload the rest of it tomorrow to other neighbors before we eat it all! The cake is looming next to me saying eat me eat me eat me! oh, it's good. it is soooo good.

And I finally emailed all my step-out photos to Stampington tonight. All 25 of them. I am so relieved that is off my plate. Now I can get back to making stuff for Etsy and just for the fun of it. I have so many ideas I've sketched out for new necklaces and I've barely touched my new steel stamps. Nothing excites me more than new projects. I love when I have a bunch of new ideas. Sometimes I even get out of bed in the middle of the night and sketch things I've dreamed about or that just popped in my head. That's a little nuts, huh?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Here we are at Agecroft Hall a few days ago. My last week in my thirties. *SOB!!* I really should photoshop out my crow's feet... My husband is 45. Isn't he handsome?

The good news is my article, although still at least 400 words beyond the limit, is turned in to Belle Armoire Jewelry! yay! The bad news is I am still working on step out photos. A note to myself: take photos when making original project, not AFTER the projects are all mailed and delivered. *sigh* I've been madly making beads (above) and resin charms similar to those that will be in the autumn issue, and then photographing them step by step. So there will be a mokume gane round bead tutorial as well as a sterling/resin tiny charm step out tutorial come September 1.

These will go on Etsy in a few days, as well as some other pendants finished this afternoon.

Otherwise things are going ok. What am I up to? Well, I'm catching up on watching Workout on Bravo TV while polishing the beads (at least my hands are working out...). We ate a big Mexican dinner out tonight, thus blowing my diet for the entire week, and then we skipped our usual long evening power walk. I feel enormously guilty (true). Lucy is napping and snoring gently on the futon. Mango is sleeping in his typical evening position- on the floor, fat tummy in the air, front and back feet extended, eyes blissfully closed, totally knocked out cold. Michael is working on a painting. In between everything I worked on a knitted sweater today and read some more on a 1983 biography of Isak Dinesen.

STILL I am waiting for word on the job I don't really want but need to take... maybe it won't be so bad. hey, maybe it'll be good!! Note: must think many positive thoughts, affirmations, make offerings to the gods for this to be so. But with gas almost to four bucks a gallon, and every known product hiking price, I can't be picky with job offerings. A few weeks ago I walked out shaking my head and rolling my eyes, no way. Now I am anxious to get a green light. Aren't these great times, people? Let's hear it for a new president! Let's hear it for a Democrat in the White House! Yes!! Although you know what? Who on earth would be crazy enough to want to take on this incredible mess we're in? I feel acutely sorry for the poor soul who ends up with the task, no matter who it is. Although if it's the old guy, I will feel the most sorry for us poor saps out here trying to drag in another deflated dollar to keep food in the fridge, gas in the car, roof over our heads, and also very important, BEADS IN MY WORKBIN!!

Well, go out and vote, folks, when it's time. It's all we can do. Your beads (and your sales) may depend on it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

back at work

The last week has been full of activity with a restorative trip to visit my parents for mother's day, then home again for one day whereupon I spent most of the day madly cleaning our apartment in time for out of town visitors the following two days. Our dear friends from Charlotte, NC came and (thankfully stayed at a nearby b & b) we spent two days whisking them around Richmond, visiting the Museum of Fine Arts and Agecroft Hall in one day, plus exceptional dining and good conversation. It was a most pleasant time but after the four day trip out of town and then two days visitors, I am tired now!! This is where procrastination is my worst enemy because I just started the real draft of my next Belle Armoire Jewelry article today and it is due to the editor on MONDAY. oh dear.
But it's going well and after two previous articles, it's getting easier to manage the format and bring the article together properly.

While were were out of town, my advance copy of the summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry arrived in the mail! I have a four page article in there on page six called Heavy Metal Earrings. The earrings above are in the article, made up from scraps of leftover sterling from other projects and also my beloved faceted pearls. This is my own picture, not the one from the magazine. There are two other pairs of earrings as well that are featured in the article and I hope the readers get some good use of my theory on saving scraps and renewing them in small pieces of wearable art. I am very pleased with the layout of the article and look forward to sharing the techniques when it hits newstands June 1. The magazine is packed with other lovelies from Lynn Davis and Deryn Mentock, to name a few.

Even though I'm thinking of dinner plans, walking before it rains tonight and working on a new knitted sweater, I must must must prioritize for once!

Oh, it also looks like I may have gotten the job I interviewed for a few weeks ago, so I may be a working gal again starting in June. I'll find out for sure early next week, so they say.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


This is the back of a pendant that I made for my mother for mother's day. The front of the pendant has a resin encased photograph of my grandmother in 1940s period dress, posing for my grandfather, who during that time was off stationed in the Aleutian Islands during WWII.

Both of my grandmothers have been gone for years now, but their memory I hold close to my heart. This weekend is Mother's Day and my husband and I will travel to visit my parents to honor my mother. I always love going home. My parents hold many memories tangible in the form of antiques and photographs that I remember well as they stood in their homes of origin. Even though their parents are long gone, they keep their memories alive.

My husband and I watched a CBS Sunday Morning clip last Valentine's Day with Ben Stein. It was a segment about love and loss and how difficult it is to cope with loss, and the importance of loving those in our lives while they are still here on earth to do so because life moves so quickly, it's easy to forget our time together is limited and precious. The clip was so poignant and affected me so that we recently dredged it up on Youtube and saved it. In the clip, Ben Stein spoke of his father and how he suffered after the loss of his wife of 60 some years. Ben said he could not imagine life without his wife, that he could not fathom how people cope after being together for so many years.

During Mother's Day and Father's Day and birthdays and other special occasions, I remember all the little and big things my parents, grandparents, husband and others have done for me and how well I am loved and how grateful and fortunate I am for that love in my life. It's so huge. It's incredible to me how fast time goes by, and the older I get the faster it flies. We all better use it well, before it's all but memories to keep alive in our hearts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Necklace

It's almost 11:30 p.m. and Michael and I just finished walking our evening route, later than we would prefer, as usual. Lucy was glum that she couldn't go. Hopefully after her doggie surgery she will be back in walking shape by fall. That seems like a very long time from now.

My submission for Bead Star sponsored by Beading Daily is at left. Tonight at midnight is the deadline. As usual I waited til the last moment to get it finished, formatted and emailed . I am loving pearls more and more and have been collecting faceted pearls in particular. This necklace is called A Little Bird Told Me and is comprised of a sterling stamped pendant I made a few nights ago, a Green Girl Studios iridescent bird wing, Bali sterling cones and pearls, pearls, pearls, with a copper lobster clasp. I'm really loving the look of mixed metals, especially since silver is so very expensive.

I haven't submitted to many contests but one never knows. The top prize is a trip to Santa Fe, one of my favorite places on earth. That would be too, too lovely. Right now I am going to bed happy I managed to finish the submission. Otherwise it's a fun creative challenge to create new finished pieces for the first time in a while. I've been kinda stuck on bead making lately.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hampton Art & Soul

Last Friday evening I took a class at Hampton, VA Art & Soul Retreat. My class was with polymer clay artist extraordinaire, Barbara McGuire, pictured above. Thanks to her, I am now completely addicted and in love with 22 kt gold for use in mokume gane polymer clay. Wow. The effect is gorgeous, glamorous, lustrous, breathtaking. I can't get over how much more lovely it is than regular foil. I have some new beads posted on Etsy, including ones with the new gold leaf.

There were so many wonderful artists and instructors at Art & Soul Hampton, and I dearly wanted to take a book art class with Daniel Essig, but I was financially limited to one class and once I saw Barbara's class listing, the decision was easy. Once I found my classroom, I hightailed it to the room reserved for all sorts of wonderful art supplies for sale. I snagged one block rubber stamp called Women of Pompeii. There were so many lovelies there it was hard to choose only one thing. So many new and wonderful rubber stamps, papers, paints. I wasn't able to check and make sure the stamp I chose was an angel policy stamp. If it is, it will look fabulous with metal etchings.

Saturday night was the vendor night, reserved for the instructors to sell their wares to students. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend but for my bank account it was probably fortuitous. I am only too happy for the class itself, so no disappointments at all.

Still to come this week is the article I must begin for Belle Armoire autumn issue. It is looming over me very uncomfortably.