Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I awoke this morning to a convo in my Etsy shop regarding this necklace which read:

"about your necklace are you seriously charging that much !!! i saw one idetical but with jade and it was only $50 your price is ridicolous besides a kid could make this minus the edging around the pietersite"

Now, my first reaction was to think, "That's just great. You can go buy that other necklace. You must have confused my work with that which is made by child labor in a sweat shop for a dime a day. So sorry." My other reaction was to send her back a long-winded reply about the time and particular techniques involved in this piece, but I decided to do neither.

My one-word reply to this crazy person? "Whatever."

I mean, come on, seriously? Surprisingly, I was not at all offended by this insane message. First of all, I found it highly amusing that she misspelled words like "identical" and "ridiculous" but somehow managed to spell "Pietersite" correctly.

Second of all, she obviously has no clue that the "edging around the pietersite" which is the only part of my necklace that could not be done by a child is, in fact, what makes the necklace handmade and unique.

And third, if she thinks my price is too high, well, she doesn't have to buy it. I don't care if she buys it. In fact, I would prefer that she NOT buy it, because she obviously has no respect for beautiful handmade objects and would most likely not care for it properly.

But I have to wonder, what did she think I was going to say?

"Oh, my goodness! I didn't realize that I was overpricing my work! How helpful of you to drop me such a direct note to let me know that I'm heading down the road to failure because I am charging too much for my handmade work! Would you like me to knock $85 off the price for you? And can I get you some cocoa with that?"

Or maybe...

"Wow, I had no idea that this is so overpriced. Thank you so much."

Or maybe this...


Which brings me to a good story from a couple years ago at my farmer's market.

It was a lovely Sunday morning, warm and breezy, and it was getting to be near the end of the market that day. This was when I was selling my fused glass pendants and jewelry, and I had a lovely selection of brand new work displayed on my black velvet pads. I was especially proud of a new set of 1 3/4" dichroic glass pendants that had just come out of the kiln, all with sterling silver bails.

That day, I was set up next to a couple of guys in their 50s who were selling some absolutely amazing handmade rustic and birch bark furniture. Like, real Adirondack Great Camp style work. Well made, with dovetail joints and the whole bit. Real luxury stuff.

A woman came along to my table, two little kids in tow. She looked over my pendants, then picked up the largest piece, which incidentally, I had also decorated with traditional henna tattoo patterns using enamel paints. She held it up in the sun and admired it, then turned it over to see the price marked on the back.

"Forty-five DOLLARS?!" she gasped. She tossed it - literally, threw it! - back down on the table and huffed off with her children.

I hadn't even had time to react when one of the gentleman next to me leaned over and said, "Attention, Wal-Mart shoppers..."

I burst out laughing at that point, because what he said was absolutely true and was something that I had learned that summer while selling my work at the farmer's market. I do not sell jewelry that has been made in a sweatshop or by child labor for pennies a day. I sell handcrafted wearable art. Not everyone is looking for my kind of jewelry, and that's fine. The reason I sell my work at farmer's markets and fine craft shows is because, yes, there are people out there who are looking for unique, well-made, handcrafted jewelry. That simple.

So, hey, I'm not going to worry too much about that message from this morning. Because I know that this necklace will go to a good home when it's time, and I'm really not going to let this insane, unappreciative person who can't spell or punctuate to save her life get to me.

But at least it was good for a few chuckles when I shared it on Facebook this morning!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Words are getting in the way today. I am trying like hell to finish up these blogs posts, but the words that usually come so easily seem like a distraction to me today. I can usually put Pandora radio on the iPad while I write and have background music, but today, I seem to notice every single word from the lyrics that are coming through the speakers. It's driving me mad. I need to concentrate on this, and, well, it's just not working...

Strange today that my back is hurting me down through my knees, the same way it did at the beginning of all this digestive unpleasantness, and sure enough, my stomach has gone on strike today. Nothing sits right when I eat. Going to the chiropractor this afternoon to see if that helps a bit, and then I think I should have acupuncture this Friday instead of trying to go for another two week stretch without a treatment. Damn it all...

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Tom is off deer hunting today, and he called me this morning to tell me that he got the buck he had been watching since he arrived in Greene on Friday afternoon! Truthfully, I was a little worried about what would happen if he didn't get a deer. He's had such rotten luck so far this season and he missed out on his big island hunt with Rob and The Guys in October. It'll be nice for him to have venison in the freezer this winter!

Colden and I are having a lazy morning. We're both still in our pajamas, although I did actually make it into the shower to wash my hair and clean up a bit. It's a windy, overcast day today, with a sprinkling of rain. We've had breakfast (sort of) and watched The Santa Clause 2 (oy) and are hanging out in his bedroom, sort of cleaning and straightening up and sort of playing with his favorite magnetic fishing game.

Tom called me last night when I was just about to have a nervous breakdown. I had finished the last of the "chicken" strips for lunch, and Colden decided that he wanted them for dinner. (After we had come back from Oma and Opa's house, where we had mac and cheese and peas for dinner.) So in addition to the guilt I felt from eating the last of the strips and the exhaustion and aches, I had a screaming nearly-four-year-old to soothe.

After Colden finally went to sleep, Tom sent me a text message. I can't repeat it here, but it made me laugh. So we sent text messages back and forth for about half an hour before we both conked out and needed to go to sleep. I felt like my sister, who texts back and forth with her husband all day long. What's next for Tom - a Facebook account?!

Beading later. I got some ideas that I need to start working on before my deadlines completely overwhelm me and I drown.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Up the Ante.

It's been years since I did any bead shopping down in New York City. The last time I went was the year before I got pregnant with Colden, and I can still remember traipsing around the fashion district with my two friends, buying beads, eating falafel from a street vendor...

I may not be able to do the street vendor falafel thing this time around, but I can certainly still shop for beads! (I'm thinking maybe some meal replacement bars from my favorite place in Willsboro will have to do instead of the falafel.) So the other day, I bought a train ticket down to Penn Station for the first weekend in December to spend some time hanging out with friends and hitting the bead shops in NYC.

Maybe it was that episode of Project Accessory where they went to the Swarovski store in Manhattan that got to me. Or maybe it's just that I haven't been away to do anything fun in a very long time. And now that I *can* have a little getaway without feeling horribly guilty over finances, I think I need to do this.

Besides, it'll give me great blogging material!

Speaking of blogging, make sure you take a few minutes and check out this blog over at the Lark Crafts site! They've asked bead artists for their recommendations for holiday book wishlists, and right now, you can read my recommendations (there are quite a few!) as well as the recommendations of my beady friend Jill Wiseman of Tapestry Beads!

Got to get back to it now...we've got a holiday weekend coming up, and I still need to get two more blog/newsletters out of my brain and on to the proof reader...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


In the last month, four of my friends have announced that they are pregnant. Some of them are having second and third babies; some of them are having first babies. Most of them are my age or older, which made made Tom and I have the big talk again: are we going to have a second baby?

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that at this point in my life, with our financial situation being what it is, I can either have a second baby or a career. I don't see any practical way of doing both right now. And I'm 37. I certainly don't see myself doing the round-the-clock feeding thing again when I'm 40. (As it is now, we still have to get up sometimes four times a night with Colden!)

We had always thought about having a second baby so that Colden wouldn't be an only child. Tom's mom was an only child, and she has always said that the one thing she really wanted was a sibling. I have to admit that since my mom passed away a few years ago, I've become closer to my sister. I would love for Colden to have a brother or sister that he could have that experience like Tom and I did.

But. I just don't think it's in the cards. Not right now, anyway. Maybe I'll change my mind in a year. Maybe we'll find a way to do it in a year. But for right now, we're just going to enjoy Colden, and enjoy watching him grow up, even if it makes me a little sad that he's doing it all by himself...

Monday, November 14, 2011

More NaSeeBeMo

We are now at Day 14 of the month of November, and so far, I have managed to bead every single day, even if it was only for ten or fifteen minutes. Feels pretty darn good.

This is my Arabesque challenge piece for the Etsy Beadweavers' Team. I have to have this baby finished and listed in my Etsy shop before midnight on December 5. I'm pretty confident that I'll have it ready to go by then!

I'm amazed at how much I've accomplished just by breaking down this large-scale piece of bead embroidery into manageable pieces. I think to myself, okay, I'll just stitch this one line here. And then when that's done, I tell myself that I can stitch one more line before I have to get up and do something else. Then when my thread is finished, I start on another section of it.

I'm purposely keeping my threads short so that I give myself that good ol' pat on the back for accomplishing something. I love it.

I also managed to get the brass collar form for my Day of the Dead challenge covered in Ultrasuede the other day. Once I finish edging it with those tiny black seed beads using brick stitch, I'll start adding the embellishment with the beads. This is going to be interesting...I'm still trying to figure out how to add the lampwork sugar skull. It might involve some wire work and a cabochon, we'll see.

And on that note, I'm trying to plan a few days away down in NYC with some friends for some bead shopping. It's been far too long since I've been down there for a visit, and I need some time away from home to recharge my batteries. While I'm there, I think I'm going to have to hit Rockefeller Square to see all the Christmas decorations and eat some street vendor falafel. Sometimes I really miss living so close to the city, but I can't imagine living anywhere else but here.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The last couple of days, I've felt like I've been in a total brain fog, which is not a good thing for a writer/blogger. My attention jumps from piece to piece as I'm writing. I probably shouldn't have sixteen pieces open at once in my word processor, but there it is.

I did, however, manage to finish two more pieces from Bead Riffs last night and get started on another one!

I have been just itching to make those lovely little Nightingale earrings. The idea of stitching together all those tiny, shiny little Swarovski rounds just tickled me! Once the pieces were finished, I was genuinely happy with my color choice of Crystal Copper for these earrings. I seem to be gravitating towards copper and warm brown tones lately, and these will go nicely with a number of sweaters and shirts I have for winter.

The only mishap occurred when I tried to attach the earrings to the fancy sterling ear wires that I got for the project. (They were similar to the ones pictured in the book, and not the sterling round hoops you see in the picture.) I went to gently open the bottom loop of the second ear wire to add the finished earring and the loop broke right off! Considering what I paid for them, I was a little annoyed, but decided that they look just as nice on the round hoops. Unfortunately, those round hoops are NOT comfortable for me to wear, so I'm probably going to find another pair of fancy ear wires for these.

Then I started in on Drop Me Off in Harlem, another 3-dimensional right-angle weave project that I was fascinated with making.

It's truly a stunning pendant, and it came together so easily! I stitched up both bases in just over an hour, and the embellishment itself only took me another hour or so. Stitching it together took no time at all, and now all I need is a chain for it!

Similar to the Night In Tunisia necklace, the real shape of this piece didn't come together until the last step when I was stitching the bases together. But it felt wonderful in my fingers as the curves and angles came out, and I'm also pleased with my color choice of a permanent-galvanized rose gold seed bead from Beyond Beadery. 

The only thing that really gave me problems was figuring out how to attach the rose montees to the top of the peyote bumps during the embellishment. I always felt like there was too much thread showing, and trying to keep those little crystals from flipping over before I could make the second and third thread passes was a challenge, too. Which leads me to....

The beginnings of 'Round Midnight! The color of this piece in the book is metallic silver, but I wanted to do something bright and cheery. I got these permanent silver-lined fuchsia from Beyond Beadery at Bead Fest a few years ago, and I've had the size 15s in this color for so long that I can't remember where I got them. (Beadin' Path? Whimbeads? I have no idea.)

If I want to master the art of adding montees to peyote bumps, this is going to be the piece that does it. I've got to add 12 montees to 12 peyote bumps. Three down, nine to go...

I really want to dive in to some of the larger and more complex pieces in the book, but I'm afraid those are going to have to wait until 2012. >sigh< I've got three big beading deadlines coming up in December, and even with NaSeeBeMo, I'll have to put off anything else until after Colden's birthday in January.

For now, though, I'm really thrilled with all the little sparkly pieces from Bead Riffs that are making their way into my jewelry box!

Monday, November 07, 2011


They're here! They're here! They're here!

I have been a very patient beader these last few weeks, and now it's paid off! I can't jump in and start Rondo or Dolled Up just yet since I don't have everything for those projects, but I can get started on some of those smaller pendants and rings - beaded rings! (Which will be great to go with my newly manicured fingernails.)

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Maybe you've heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo - it's an event where writers are encouraged to write every single day during the month of November, with the idea that at the end of 30 days, you'll have a first draft of a novel, or pretty darn close to it.

One of my beading friends on Facebook, a very talented beader named Dulcey Heller, mused about what would happen if there were National Seed Beading Month in November. What a great idea! Beaders being encouraged to bead every single day for an entire 30 days!

All too often, at the end (or at the beginning) of my days, my beading gets pushed aside to do other things. I decided to pick on the NaSeeBeMo idea because I feel like I'm ready to get back into large-scale beading projects, and I just need some impetus to do it. Giving myself the encouragement to bead every single day for a whole month is something that I really need right now.

So far, we're five days into November, and I am happy to report that I have picked up my beads every single day for five days. I've made good progress on my Etsy Beadweavers' challenge piece (which is due on December 5th, yikes!) and I've made progress on a couple other pieces that were sitting on my work table.

Even if I only bead for five or ten minutes, it feels good to hold that needle in my fingers.

We'll see what the rest of NaSeeBeMo brings...!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

So, I got the order of brass bead embroidery collars from Designer's Findings the other day, so now I'm all set to start my project for The Hole Bead Shop!

...or so I thought...

My first thought was to make a collar covered in Ultrasuede (no bead embroidery actually on the collar) and then just fringe and embellish the hell out of it. But when I checked my Ultrasuede supply, I found that I didn't have enough black to do it. I had a large piece of the off-white, but I didn't want to use that because it seems to get dirty pretty easily on a big project like this. I had a very cool deep red/orange that would look fabulous, but without the black... Meh.

Fortunately, I am expecting a new order of Ultrasuede any second now. Which, translated into shipping times to rural areas like this, means sometime between now and the 17th of November.

So, I have a choice. Do I hold off on working on this collar until I get the Ultrasuede and go ahead with my original plan? OR do I just say to heck with it and do a bead embroidered front?

I'm thinking that I will probably stick with my original plan. I don't want the bead embroidery to take away from the lush and lavish fringe and embellishment that I have planned. And truthfully, I don't know if I'll have the time to do a full-on bead embroidered panel for the front. (I'm already working on a big Arabesque bead embroidered piece for my Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge this month so I don't get kicked off THAT team.)

I went into town today and had lunch with a friend, and it was a fabulous time. I miss having grown-up talk like that during the day. And I didn't even have any digestive issues with the lunch, either! Huzzah! Followed that up with a great acupuncture appointment, and came home to a hot meal of homemade Indian food, thanks to the spousal unit.

Tomorrow morning, I have to be at the lab bright and early when they open to get that last set of blood tests that the acupuncturist wanted. (Have I mentioned she is also a fabulous M.D.?) Then I think some Beading in Public at Starbucks before I have a manicure... And don't laugh. It's been two years since my last manicure, and I need to do something girly for myself this weekend.

Trying Times

We had a potty training meltdown this morning.

What is going on?!

Colden wouldn't get on the potty to poop. He ran away from me every time I tried to get him in the bathroom. I finally got him on the potty, and then he wanted to read every single book he owns. I couldn't get him off the potty. When I tried to get him off, he started screaming and just went limp so that I couldn't pick him up. I finally relented, and we wound up getting over to Oma and Opa's house at ten o clock in the morning.

Of course, the whole time this was going on, I was thinking about all the things I had to do today: the work, the writing, the beading, the photographs, the appointment for acupuncture... And I could feel myself just getting more and more stressed out. I had to walk away from Colden while he was sitting on the potty just to get myself together.

And then I start thinking that I must be doing something wrong. Is Colden's behavior my fault? Am I allowing him to get away with having a temper tantrum? Am I "enabling" as someone once told me?

The whole thing starts to make me feel like a very inadequate mother.

On the other hand, some mornings it's HARD getting a nearly-four-year-old washed, dressed and well-fed before we get out the door all by myself. Colden is a bright, active kid. It's hard to find a balance between letting him assert himself and making sure that I can get him to do the basics all within a reasonable amount of time.

On a good note, a friend emailed me this morning and asked me to have lunch with her. And I rescheduled my acupuncture appointment for later this afternoon. That will be a very nice break for me today.


I got a rejection yesterday. I've gotten lots of rejections before, and while having your art rejected isn't fun, this particular rejection was just mean. The rejection letter said something like, "We have deemed that your work is not of sufficient quality or artistic merit for our program."


Two of the pieces I submitted, mind you, were good enough to appear on the cover of a certain well-known beading magazine. But they were not of sufficient quality or artistic merit for their program.

My sister, who is an up-and-coming science fiction/fantasy/horror writer, called me and understood exactly what had happened. She said, "There's a difference between CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and just plain criticism."

What I experienced was the latter.

It got me so pissed off. How dare these people go so far as to insult me and my work like that? Being rejected is hard enough; but getting a MEAN rejection is just, well, mean.

I may write a response to their rejection letter and suggest that in the future they refrain from using those particular sentences when turning down candidates for their program. Why? Because nice matters.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I was cooking an egg, avocado and Swiss cheese sandwich for myself this morning, and I was looking at the egg as I cracked it into the bowl. Last month when Tom's hunting buddies came up from downstate, we used up pretty much every egg the girls laid. And then we actually had to go BUY eggs, because until Tom got the red light installed in the coop for the winter, those girls were not generous in replenishing our supply. The other morning, Colden asked for an egg for breakfast, so I opened the store-bought carton of eggs.

The egg that I cracked into the bowl for him that morning was pale, neon yellow. It looked sick. I actually felt a little sick cooking it up for Colden, knowing that it probably came from a hen that was crammed into a tiny cage so that she couldn't even stand up or move her wings, and that her beak had probably been removed, too.

It did not look like a happy egg.

This morning, I had a nice supply of eggs from our girls to use, thanks to that red light that keeps them warm and gives them some extra light when the days get short. (I could probably use some extra light, too.)

When I cracked that egg into the bowl, I noticed what a deep gold it was, how it was a thicker yolk and a thicker shell. It tasted much better than the other eggs that I cooked from the store-bought container earlier in the week. It looked better. It looked like an egg.

So here's what I'm going to take away from this experience with the eggs: Our chickens are raised with care and love and pride. We do not remove their beaks. We play with them. We pick them up and pet them. We interact with them. They get good food, lots of fresh vegetable and meat scraps, lots of fresh grass from their huge enclosure, and they get to walk and run around in the fresh air and the sun every day. They get fresh water. They get love and attention.

And in return, they give us beautiful, nutritious eggs.

If you want to do something well, do it with care and love and pride. Do it with respect and a consciousness of your actions. Do it with the understanding that everything you do will affect someone else, somewhere.

Be nice to your chickens.