Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last Day of Voting for Beads of Courage to Win $25K!

We're almost there! Today is the last day to vote, so to make it extra special, how 'bout you round up a friend or two (or three or 50) and give them this information so they can vote too. I know you do it for American Idol, so how about for the kids? You'll make Dr. Jean and the gang mighty proud, and me too. Rest assured that we're rounding up everyone at the Bead Bazaar to do the same today.

Have you texted your daily vote for Beads of Courage
in the Pepsi Challenge?

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pssst!

Just me, tickling your brain, with only 2 more days left in this contest.

Have you texted your daily vote for Beads of Courage
in the Pepsi Challenge?

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Because I'm Having Fun

at the Gathering doesn't mean you should forget to cast your daily votes for the Beads of Courage Program in the Pepsi Refresh Everything Challenge. Au Contraire! Rest assured that we're voting every day from the conference, so you can too! Think of all the hopeful, healing beady goodness that they could spread with this funding.

Have you texted your daily vote for Beads of Courage
in the Pepsi Challenge?

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's Wednesday, Do You Know Where Your Vote Is?

Have you texted your daily vote for Beads of Courage
in the Pepsi Challenge?

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How About That?


Another new bullet pendant, headed to Rochester.

I got all of my beads made, plus some silver work I've been itching to do, and almost resisted the idea to try some new things. Why do these tendencies hit me the week before a show? Nothing like being afloat in a sea of beady talent for a week to expand ideas to their fullest creative potential. I've got my ISGB spiral notebook and am ready to sketch and jot notes as the week at The Gathering progresses.

I bet you could think of some cool ways to adorn these simple fine silver earrings, which I believe I'll call the Loop in Loop Loop in Loops. Cool, huh? They're light as a feather and would rock on their own, or with any kind of beady embellishments you like. If you know how to wire wrap, you're home free.

Another bejeweled Amulet.

I'm totally psyched to be able to hear Nancy Tobey speak at the conference. I must confess that I entered her name as my write-in suggestion for speakers this year, and my wish came true! If ever I were to be seduced to go to the dark side (borosilicate glass), this woman's work could do it. Maybe not soon, but certainly before too long, I will have to take one of her classes.

For once, my displays were dry runned (ran?) a week ahead of time, and every prop needed to maximize my little 4' of table space at the Bead Bazaar is packed. Not even one box was shipped ahead, although I know I'll have to pay for my one checked bag. Unlike last time I've eschewed the urge to haul heavy necklace busts, wooden shadow boxes, and other flotsam in favor of lighter weight, more creative solutions. I'm most excited about my $2 plastic grocery bag storage bins from Ikea. Two of them are now spray painted and repurposed into earring, bead, and jewelry displays, the lightest you'll ever find, and no doubt the cheapest. I think I confessed a while back that I'd be on an eternal mission to find the best, most efficient displays, even if it means reinventing my booth each and every time. I'll photograph it on Saturday and try to do a remote blog update so you can see.

Plastic grocery bag holders from Ikea.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I plan to enjoy a nice day with the intriguing Milon Townsend in his studio, complete with lunch in his lovely garden. It's one of the fantastic events planned as part of the Gathering, and in my opinion, beats the heck out of shopping.

And to top it off will be another exciting, though nerve-jangling episode of So You Think You Can Dance (hereforafter referred to as SYTYCD), where they will remove not one, but TWO dancers. Last week the judges thought it appropriate to reward Billy Bell for declining to dance even with a doctor's go-ahead, and to decline to send anyone home depite the fact that we all knew that Jose's time had come, despite his heart melting smile. Cat Deeley summed it up perfectly by asking them, "we're just making this up as we go along, aren't we?" Cyndie and I are both fans, however, and will find a way to see this show, you can count on that.

Have you voted today?

Since I'm at the Gathering in New York, I thought I'd just take this time to....

remind you to vote for Beads of Courage to win a $25,000 grant from Pepsi in the Refresh Everything Challenge.

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Day, Another Vote - Please Help

Have you texted your daily vote for Beads of Courage
in the Pepsi Challenge?

We need your vote every day through Saturday to win
a $25,000 grant for the program!

Vote from your mobile phone

Text* 100217 to
Pepsi (73774)

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

You can vote on the web once per day as well –

please visit this link online to vote

Thank you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Gathering 2010 Sneak Peak

Soft.

Here's a sneak peak at some of the new work I'll be taking with me to the ISGB Gathering in Rochester next week. As I told you, I've really been having fun with transparent color layering, and loving the results. These are all etched to impart a wonderful softness in both look and feel, and the colors are just indescribable. And who doesn't love a little raku murrini?

Then there's mean. The Meanies are growing into new forms with more detail and color.

Mean.


Plays With Fire Meanies. Definitely Mean.
Can you imagine one of these in a Cyndie Smith ring setting like this or like this?

I'm bringing much more than this to the bead bazaar, including some of my bullet pendants, animal print beads and jewelry, and my In Vino Veritas collection. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

John Muir

As I reminisce on a wonderful little backpacking trip into the Sierras, I'm reminded of John Muir and his incredible passion for nature, and thought I'd share one of his quotes. So many of his words appeal to me.


"One is constantly reminded of the infinite lavishness and fertility of Nature -- inexhaustible abundance amid what seems enormous waste. And yet when we look into any of her operations that lie within reach of our minds, we learn that no particle of her material is wasted or worn out. It is eternally flowing from use to use, beauty to yet higher beauty; and we soon cease to lament waste and death, and rather rejoice and exult in the imperishable, unspendable wealth of the universe, and faithfully watch and wait the reappearance of everything that melts and fades and dies about us, feeling sure that its next appearance will be better and more beautiful than the last." - John Muir














Just Need a Little Clickety Love, Please!

Hey. I don't often ask my readers to support causes, but this one is really worthwhile, and only requires you to click on a website once per day for another week or so. Have you heard of the Beads of Courage program? If you read many glass bead makers' blogs you probably have heard of it, or maybe you saw an article in Ladies Home Journal on it. It's a program started by a wonderful, kind pediatric nurse named Jean Baruch, and uses glass beads as art therapy to help children who are going through cancer treatments. Like many other lampwork artists, I help this cause periodically by making beads for the kids and by helping with other fundraising activities.

Here is what we could really use your help with. This month Beads of Courage is competing to receive a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Cola people in the Pepsi Challenge. The top 10 "ideas" that get the most votes as "good ideas" will receive $25,000 to help fund their idea. Currently, Beads of Courage is in 15th place, and we need your votes to get to #10.

All you have to do to help us is to vote once per day, and ask your friends to do the same. Just register on the Pepsi Challenge website by giving them your name, email address, and birth date, and you can vote once or twice per day for this very worthy cause. Winning this grant will help Jean and her staff keep the program going and continue the incredible work they've done already with the kids.

Don't forget to recruit a couple of friends to help. The kids, hospital staff, and Beads of Courage folks really love you for it, and so do I.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Summer!

It's finally here to stay, and we're finally doing Summer Things.

Picking raspberries with friends.

Making lots of spicy beads for The ISGB Gathering.

Bicycling on the amazing Pacific Coast (and forgetting my camera).

Cooking everything we can on the grill.

Enjoying the beauty and the bounty of the garden.

Messin' around in the kayak.

Who knew that our dog was such a...yachtsman? I need to figure out how to teach him to paddle. Oh wait, he already knows how. Fortunately this little jaunt ended well, and he managed to exit the boat without flipping it. Small miracle, that.

The wild plums and blackberries will soon be ripe, and I hope to preserve their essence somehow, maybe in salsa.

Cyndie and I are making lots of great things to take to the bead bazaar at the Gathering. You should see her latest cuffs!

Blackened Sterling Cuff, by Cyndie Smith.

If you're in the Rochester, New York area, you just have to come. At least to the bazaar on Saturday, July 31, where your eyes will glaze over (with delight) at all of the delicious handmade beads. And if you're a glass bead maker, the conference is jam packed with great presentations and social events, and you'll get to meet all kinds of wonderful beaders and glass melters. I hope to see you there! I'll be bringing tons of beads. Well, maybe not tons, but as much as the airlines will let me.

I'll have more of a preview of my offerings soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. T

The wild turkeys are back, and this year they have a clutch of 4 babies in tow. The family is coming to visit nearly every day now, and each time I spot them I begin the anxious count. One, ok two, three, where's the last? Last year there was a particularly large family hanging around, but the numbers got smaller as the season progressed. We have bobcat and mountain lions here, and the turkeys are very vulnerable. There's also been a coyote hanging around the neighborhood who hasn't been shy when people are around, and it's got the neighbors who raise ducks, chickens, and children a bit worried.

But for now, the family of six is intact, and it makes me smile to see them.

ADDENDUM

I have been curious about our local feathered friends so I did some research and learned that they are from the Rio Grande subspecies. Further, I thought I should verify if indeed it was likely I saw a male & female pair with the chicks or perhaps more likely, two females. Well, best as I can tell from the gender identification guides, this is a family with two gobblers and no hens! A coupla guys raising chicks! Imagine that. I'll try to verify the next time they stroll through, but the guides are specific and the shots I got the other day showed very pronounced snoods on both adults, and some very manly sets of caruncles.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Enormous Sigh of Relief

I just had the best phone call from my surgeon, and they found nothing of concern in my biopsy! No cancer for sure, and not even any more atypical cells. I've been so on edge waiting for this call, and can finally breathe deeply again. I had been doing way more internet research than was probably advised on all of the possible outcomes, and this was the best of any I could have hoped for. Skipetty Doo Dah!

But that's no excuse for you to forget, postpone, or otherwise avoid having your mammogram once a year. Suck it up and do it, as it could save your life when you didn't even know it was in danger.

I Took A Nice Picture Today


I've finally found the best prop for my jewelry and bead photos...and it was right in my own backyard! For some reason I've yet to explain, I keep hauling sun dried bones and other beach artifacts home with me from our annual trips to Baja. We truly have a boneyard thing going and I'm sure that visitors must be wondering when they see my stash. To me they speak loudly of how difficult it is for some animals to survive in the desert, and the texture and stone-like feel of them is fascinating.


Finally it occurred to me to use one of the bones I had to get the structure and subtle textural interest I was after in my photos. I'm very pleased with it, and thought it was just the right prop for my new Kilimanjaro bracelet - kind of primitive, and well, animal looking. And here's the best part - on one side there's an edge that I can hang earrings from. How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Before I Was So Rudely Interrupted



Before my procedure on Friday I had started on some new beads, and I had some time over the long weekend to continue this work. Inspired by summer days spent by the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez, these beads are all about water. It helped my mental state to keep busy.

It's been fun thinking back to the class I took with Michael Barley, where he gave us countless tips on how to make our work unique as the pool (sorry for the pun) of lampwork bead makers continues to grow larger. One of several I've been playing with in this series is layering transparent colors. There are lots of ways to do it (see his new cane pulling tutorial here), but the end result is fantastic. You can't buy these colors anywhere.

Anyway, have a look and enjoy glass at its best, with transparent watery depth you can lose yourself in.


I've also got the cutest little spacers that coordinate with all of the focals in this series. Coordinated, I tell you! Who'd have thunk I could do that?

I've been thinking about Michael and his beads a lot lately, as I work on this new Aquatic series and also as I think about medical stuff. His beads definitely make me think about organisms at the cellular level, and lately when I've been at the torch I have been inspired to create my own cellular patterns, which I hope to show you sometime.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Wanna Be Sedated

As you read this I am either at the hospital undergoing a surgical breast biopsy or I'm finally home, and am holding down the couch. I wavered about whether to share this personal aspect of my life with you or not, and decided to share. I know that since I received my diagnosis of "atypical ductal hyperplasia" a few weeks ago it has weighed heavily on me, and I have been seeking as much information as I could. It seems that many women don't talk much about this, and I think that might be a mistake. Turns out a close friend had this procedure (essentially a lumpectomy, but in my case there is no lump) some years ago, and all is fine with her. My reason for letting you know is so that you'll be reminded to attend to this aspect of your health as a woman.

It hadn't even been a year since I had a mammogram, but I went in for some painful fibrous cysts on the left side - a condition that many women have and can be managed in various nonsurgical ways. A comprehensive (read: painful) series of mammograms ensued and they found what they called some "suspicious" looking calcifications on the right side, the side I hadn't been having problems with. A few days before leaving for Mexico I underwent a sterotactic biopsy procedure involving a table with a hole in it and a computer-guided needle. I'll spare you the details about that one but it wasn't much fun at all - I'm pretty sure that this device is also in the Medieval Torture Museum in Buena Park.

I got the phone call with the results when my friend and I were changing planes at LAX enroute to Mexico. While no cancer per se was found, this is a "pre-cancerous" diagnosis and they want to take some more surrounding tissue to be sure that nothing was missed. Sometimes these cells turn into cancer at some point in the future, and sometimes they don't. I don't have much extra meat in this location to spare for their tests but in this case I'll make an exception. Clearly this additional test is the right thing to do, even if it means my nerves are in a jumble and I'll be useless for a couple of days. At least there's some sedation involved in this procedure.

I feel fortunate that there is no history of breast cancer in my family, but the Bay Area is known for having a much higher percentage of it than other areas, particularly in the North Bay (I live in the South), and you just don't know. I have lost a number of people I love to cancer, and it's nothing to be taken lightly. Early detection and treatment is everything.

So, I'm sharing this so that you'll remind yourself to get to your doctor for those painful but critically important tests. It's a real chore sometimes to maintain a healthy female body, but I don't care to consider any of the alternatives. Give your boobies some love and make that phone call. Enjoy this mammogram cartoon as a reward when you've got it scheduled.

And now enjoy this:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pensive and Moody

"Moody Blues" bracelet. Bead Mix available below.

The last few days have found me pensive and a bit on the moody side. Tomorrow I am having a diagnostic outpatient surgical procedure and it's got me a bit anxious. I've not decided yet if it's something I want to share with everyone or not, but I promise that one way or another I'll have more to say on it soon. I admire those who have no qualms about sharing every aspect of their lives, but when it comes to practice in my own I sometimes waiver.

A nice long hike down to the creek and back with my furry friend did my body and soul good this morning. But there remain unresolved questions like, what portion of the long holiday weekend will I be worthless on the couch, what will the results be in a week, how many more years of active life will our beloved dog have (he's showing signs of lower spinal degeneration now), will I be joining the ranks of the regularly employed again anytime soon, and why does my dog race around like a maniac after a bath and rub his face on everything in sight? I imagine that most of the answers to these questions and more will be revealed in the days to come.

In honor of this day, I'm finally making a couple of sets of my Moody Blues Bracelet beads available here on my blog. The set includes 20 lampwork beads, 8 gorgeous 8mm kyanite gemstone beads, 10 8mm grey/blue freshwater pearls, and 8 czech leaf beads. Add your own chain and clasp and make yourself something moody.


Shipping is free.


Moody Blues Bead Mix





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