Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crystals, Crosses & Roosters: Jewelry With Meaning

October was a busy month. A trip to Seattle to spend time with my brother while he was in the hospital, a trip to Boston to help my husband do genealogical research, and a trip to Spokane to see my step-daughter Ariell marry Anton. And along with each of these visits I packed my jewelry boxes so I could do bead work in my "spare" time; in planes, in hospitals, in libraries, and any place I could lay out a towel. My previous blog recounted some of the pieces made in Seattle. Current report: Slade is currently walking and has movement in his right arm! What a trooper! To face such a horrendous event with such courage and fortitude certainly puts him at the top of my hero list!

My trip to Boston followed the weekend after my return from Seattle. Massachusetts was a beautiful state to visit, especially in the fall, and Boston left me wanting more. There’s a lot to do in this state, especially for a history teacher! I felt so privileged to take in some of the sites. We got to the airport early so we were able to squeeze in a quick visit to downtown Boston. They have a great system to get one from the airport to downtown and back so having just a few hours to spare was easily filled up with a historic side tour. I was sometimes helpful in my husband’s research, but sense it was pretty tedious and specific research I would bead as he read old newspapers. I made this piece in Weymouth's library.

The next week I was in Spokane for Ariell’s wedding. It was a simple wedding. Last summer I asked her if she wanted me to make her wedding necklace and she was excited to have me do this for her. We went to World of Wonders bead shop in Spokane where she picked out the stones and pieces she wanted me to use. She loves amethysts crystals and wanted that as her centerpiece. When it came right down to making it though, I knew she’d want to wear the crystal frequently, so I decided to make the necklace in two pieces…one for everyday, wear, and a second, complementary necklace to dress up the crystal for her wedding. I thought the ensemble turned out nicely and she was pleased.
While in Spokane I also finished the work on my daughter Joy’s birthday gift. I made her a set of three lanyards to wear at work (preschool teacher). I stayed with Brook, and of course I had to make something special for my hostess! Back to World of Wonders to have Brook pick out what she liked. She selected a marbled white cross for a necklace and some mood beads for a bracelet. While we were there I found some rooster charms. Stacie was coming over for a visit so I made her a "rooster" necklace as a memorial to her dad, who had a rooster tatooed on his foot. (My father had a rooster tatooed on his foot durning WWII and it's become somewhat of a family tradition to have a rooster tatoo).  Stacie recently had a rooster tatooed on her back. So when I spotted the rooster charm I had to make it into a necklace for my niece. I get such pleasure out of making these gifts I’m surprised they don’t charge me! So, as you can see October turned out to be a very busy month for me! I’m currently working on Christmas gifts and craft shows, so haven’t been able to slow down much.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


     Just a short time ago my older brother, Slade, had a stroke. I threw a few cloths into a suitcase tossed in some beads and rushed across the continent to offer my support through the first part of his ordeal. I take beads because I can do them on the plane, or in the hospital, or waiting to get the oil changed. It keeps me occupied and satisfies my need to be creative. I wouldn’t say I have a lot of talent, and too often I am impatient to see the end product. But I love the challenge and keep trying to perfect my craft. I knew that while my brother was in critical care there would be many hours of sitting and waiting. For a stroke, patience is key; and as I already stated, not something I have in abundance. You wait for a word, then two words, then a sentence. You wait for a toe to wiggle or a finger to move. Hours and hours you wait and the joy of a single twitch is beyond measure. Though the stroke was severe and left my brother paralyzed on the right side, small improvements came quickly, and there was little mental impairment. He was quickly back to his jovial and quick-witted comments. The words came first, the wiggles would come later. So, while we waited I beaded.   
     In this sad, sad situation I was elated. I had my brother’s undivided attention (when he wasn’t napping) and his willingness to indulge my interests. You see, Slade is an artist, the kind that is creative to his very soul. He taught me how to draw a straight line, mix colors, and at one point we made signs together until I was able to go out on my own and start my own sign business. If there are colors, designs, or patterns, he is a natural at figuring out what works, and what doesn’t. He doesn’t hesitate to tell me when something isn’t right or to encourage me to try a little harder or to be a little more patient in working towards a better product. I doubt I’ll ever have his penchant for perfection, but he inspires me to try harder. So, I beaded with my two hands and he examined my work and made commentary every step of the way. “Make it smaller, more delicate,” was his idea. Upon several attempts I was finally able to give him some aspect of what he envisioned. And as the days passed he was satisfied with my efforts to make a delicate chain necklace, and I was satisfied with his efforts to wiggle his toes. In that way we took care of each other and for me the time offers a sweet memory and ongoing admiration for a brother whose creative genius does not emanate from his hands, but from his heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Giving v Selling

I'm trying something new. I recently opened a shop on Etsy, but one of the hardest things I do is to try to sell my jewelry. I get a lot of satisfaction just giving it away to family and friends. Here are (some) of my cousins...second and thirds (w/ more on the way!). Kristen is a photographer and takes beautiful pictures (she's on my list of favorite blogs) and uses an owl in her logo. I came across some owl charms on Ebay so snapped them right up so I could send them to her. But I wanted to make a couple of necklaces for her two young daughters...but with a household full of girls I had to make a little something for everyone. And as girls are, they were happy to have another piece of jewelry to add to their collection. Adia, the youngest expressed it beautifully as she pointed to her necklace and stated "hoot, hoot!" What could be better payment than that! P.S. Shannon is working to get her store up and running on Etsy selling handmade purses, aprons, hats, etc. Such a creative family! Check back to find her added to my favorite blog list as well when her store is up and going!

At the family reunion my sister let me know that purple was her favorite color (when I was giving away purple necklaces away to everyone else!). I decided I had to make something specially purple for her as well...and of course, as my sister, she has to love it since I made it for her! I guess that's the beauty of giving jewelry away...less chance of least to one's face...

I'm finding that creating jewelry is an art of sorts, and I put a little something of myself in each piece. Sometimes a piece fits together in harmony, other times it's an embarrassment to look back and have to admit I made that monstrosity. Selling one's art offers a sort of validation to one's craft, but oddly, it also feels as a betrayal to one's self. I like making money, I like the challenge of being an entrepreneur, but I also like the freedom to express myself whether it is in harmony or discord, and to grow with one's craft without having to place a value on it. Somethings are just priceless..hoot, hoot!

Monday, August 23, 2010


While traveling I like to have projects to work on. Wire and beads made this the perfect traveling-on-an-airplane project. No tools that would raise red flags when checking in!

This pieced I call Chaos. There is something so random about twirling all these beads into a design. It is heavy around the neck, giving it an elegant feel. I love the rich colors and sparkle. It will tough to let this one go, but I need to replenish my bead supply!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Which "purple" necklace will Aunt Deanne pick?

And the winner is....

Aunt Deanne wanted a purple necklace and this is the one she liked best.

Amberly ended up with second choice. How could I deny her? It was a perfect match with the shirt she was wearing!

Of course I had to make something new for the reunion event....

and something for the wedding....

Brook's Design

It didn't take my daughter much encouragment to pick out a few beads--at Wal Mart off all places--and to give me a basic idea of what she wanted. We were pleased with our efforts.

Places of Inspiration

Had a great day in the park. It is always fun to sit and bead. People come up and visit and engage in all sorts of intersting conversatons. It is a great way to relax and enjoy the time to be creative.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A few of my creations....

This is one of my favorites, made from laminated wood...

A similar piece, but one I don't like as well

While my niece was living in Rota (near Guam) she seemed so far away! The idea behind this jewelry creation was to limit the distance between my niece and her family...12 hearts for 12 sisters... her response...

This is another piece that needed a remake. The beads would not lay right. As I tell my students, "If you don't succeed the first time, try, try again!" I ened up turning this necklace into two separated necklaces....the inside being one and I remade the outer layer turning some of the beads into earrings. I think this piece was much improved and warrented a new blouse to go with it!