Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Today, I want all of you reading this to stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and think about what is true and beautiful.

I want you to understand that truth and beauty can only be found in you: they can't be found in a book, in a religious or political leader, or in a bank account.

We should be seeking only truth and beauty in our lives. Anything else is not worth our energy and our breath.

Don't hide behind your Bible, your Torah, or your Koran. You'll know what feels true and good and real when your heart tells you.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that someone else needs to tell you what is right. You know; you've probably known all along.

If you are afraid to share your truth, then there is a reason. Don't be afraid. Examine it more closely.

It is important that our lives be real and authentic. Don't settle for anything else. Don't be afraid to be wrong.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Storm

Nothing. Nadda. All the predictions that Hurricane Sandy would impact the North Country just fizzled out yesterday when the storm crashed into the East coast near Manhattan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Crazy pictures from down there, water everywhere in New York City, subways flooded, boardwalks on the Jersey shore washed out to sea...

Up here, we had a dark and windy day, but nothing to write home about. The sun is peeking out from under the clouds over the mountains on the other side of the valley, and the wind kicks up now and then, but I think the rain is over for now, and it's supposed to be in the low 60s today. The only bad news is that we won't really see the sun again until Saturday, and then it will be a chilly sun - the high is only going to climb to 42. But again, that's typical for this time of year in this part of the world.

The good news is that I frantically wrote all the rest of my blogs up and through next week, so today, I will take and edit a bunch of photos, format a bunch of newsletters, and get those all put to bed so that I can spend some time planning and beading this week.

I woke up yesterday with the bee in my bonnet that made me want to make a special bead embroidered doll. Something to help me through this healing process, and something I can take with me when I travel to share my adventures in beadland. Did a little research, and ready to start gathering my supplies this week...once I finish the four projects I have sitting on my table, one of which has a deadline of December 3.

To be continued...

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Adventure of the Traveling Bracelets!

Last week was not a good week. One by one, we just dropped like flies around here, succumbing to whatever nasty stomach bug was making the rounds. By Friday, I was never so happy to get to the post office and find THIS:

The Traveling Bracelet was HERE!

Sig obviously took a lot of care to wrap this package and make it beautiful, and I intend to do the same when I send it on in a few weeks.

The bracelet itself was packed very carefully in a little container, wrapped in some bright and cheerful tissue paper.

It took me about thirty seconds to unwrap the bracelet and put it on, and I've worn it every day since then while I try to plan my schedule for the next couple of weeks.

Travels for this bracelet include going to Vermont and taking the ferry over Lake Champlain; a couple of walks in the woods in some of my favorite quiet places; a trip down to NYC (to make up for the one I missed two weekends ago), and a trip down to Glens Falls, where Sig grew up. (And where there also happens to be a pretty nifty-looking bead shop!)

Today, it's going to be a lot of sitting and waiting for the one-two punch that's going to come from both the Nor'Easter bearing down on us from the north and Hurricane Sandy (which will be a Tropical Storm by the time it gets here) coming up from the south. The day yesterday was eerily chilly and damp, and today, there's no sign of the sun beneath what is probably a very thick ceiling of clouds.

The biggest warning we're getting so far is from the winds - the forecasts are predicting sustained gusts of up to 60 mph or greater, meaning that when you have winds that high with lots of trees, chances are, we're going to be without power for a few days. So, we have bottled water, flashlights, batteries, candles, and plenty of wood for the wood stove stocked up. I'm going to try to get all my content written today for the rest of the week in case we do lose power for a few days, and Tom's mos has delayed her flight so that she'll be coming back on Saturday instead of midnight on Wednesday, when things are supposed to be their worst. It just might be a bumpy ride!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sunday evening, Tom wasn't feeling so well. He had made over a dozen feet of homemade sausage with some of his venison and pork, and he ate the leftover piece of pork for dinner. A few hours later, he was incredibly sick, with what he described as "power vomiting". It was uncontrollable for over 8 hours that night, and he was home from work for the next two days, recovering.

We assumed it was food poisoning from the pork, which he described as being "gamey". (Pork isn't supposed to be gamey.)

But then last night, I started feeling kinda crappy. I went to bed around 9, and by 10, I was also throwing up uncontrollably with stomach cramps so bad that it felt like I was in labor again.

All day today, I just felt weak and crappy and achy and feverish - like I had the flu really bad. Tom stayed home from work for the third day in a row because there was no way I was going to be able to get up and get Colden ready and to school.

I finally took a shower and a nap around 1, and then I woke up and started work on this piece of bead embroidery.

I actually got the idea for this one a couple of weeks ago while I was watching Erik the Viking. (An old Terry Gilliam flick with Tim Robbins and John Cleese!) One of the female characters was wearing an absolutely divine metalwork necklace, and I wanted to try to recreate the lines, shapes, and textures using bead embroidery.

So, hopefully after a good night of sleep, I'll feel better tomorrow, and then I can get back to work.

Monday, October 22, 2012


That's what I was supposed to be doing this past weekend. I had planned on traveling down to Manhattan to see Maggie and Suzanne and Perry at York Beads and do some beading and some shopping, but my stomach made other plans. Instead, I wound up going for an acupuncture treatment and spending a lot of time feeling like I had just been kicked in the stomach.

Sunday morning, as I was putting the shampoo into my hair, the water suddenly turned stone cold. A quick check of the furnace told us that it had, for the second time in ten days, decided to crap out on us. Thankfully, Tom banged around on it for a bit and got it working so that we could have hot water again. Which was great, because...

Tom got sick with something around midnight. Not sure what it was, we're pretty sure it was food poisoning, but he spent the next nine hours vomiting every twenty minutes or so.

We had thought that since I couldn't go to the city that maybe we would go to the local apple orchard that sells utility apples (they just don't look as "pretty" as the other apples) for things like apple butter and applesauce and apple pie filling, but I was still feeling crappy and then Tom had to wait around in case the furnace repair guy showed up.

I wound up just running a couple of errands with Colden, and when I got home and sat down to do a little bit of beading and relax, I saw that Sig had chosen me to receive one of her traveling bracelets! Squeeeee! Since she already has a Ganesha bracelet traveling (which would have been my first choice) I chose the King Tut bracelet. And it should be here soon!

I've got big plans for this bracelet. I still need to use that train ticket that I bought to Penn Station, so I'm planning on making a little day trip down to the bead district in NYC. The bracelet will go with me. Colden and I can take a trip across the lake to Vermont, taking the bracelet with us. I want to take it for a walk in the woods to a couple of my favorite scenic locations, and down to Sig's hometown of Glens Falls, where I understand there is a *very* nice bead shop.

Aaaaand, in other news, my dearest friend Sue, who is a classy artist babe in her own right, sent me a link to a local arts organization up here in the Adirondacks that's looking for submissions for exhibitions for 2013. She thought it would be a great idea to do a collaborative show of our work - her paintings, my beadwork, and how they can play off each other. Of course, I jumped on it, and now I'm pumped! I've got three pieces on my table that need to be finished and photographed before November 30 so that we can submit them, and quite honestly, I'm really excited about the prospect. We also did some brainstorming about another collaborative effort that we'll be working on throughout 2013 so that we can submit it for shows in 2014.

The best part of all this artistic collaboration? She'll have to come out here for the gallery openings, and I'll have to travel to Los Angeles for the gallery openings! Twist my rubber arm, I've been seriously jonesing for another trip to Cali this last year or so...

So, anyway, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go for the day today... Need to finish a couple of blogs, finish writing up an intro for a project, and then hoping to get to the beads for a bit this afternoon before Colden comes home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fragile Soul

That's what I feel like today. A fragile soul.

I know, I know. I create these huge, ginormous, somewhat aggressive pieces of jewelry, but sometimes I don't know if they are accurately reflect me, what's in my soul.

I love the city, but I prefer the quiet life, too. I love living in the mountains, where there are cows and horses and rivers on every corner, and you can drive for dozens of miles without seeing a traffic light.

But I love to party with my friends, hanging out and talking and laughing and cracking jokes and swapping stories about crazy shit that happens in our lives.

I'm crazy about animal print anything. I found the sweetest cashmere leopard print sweater at the thrift shop last weekend, and I've just been rocking it. I love my leopard print Bead On It boards, too. And my cowboy boots with the super-pointy toes.

I'm outgoing...on the outside. Does that make any sense? But there's always this little part of me that knows I'll eventually need to retreat, to recharge.

I tried to go into town today to treat myself to a Starbucks, but the stress of, oh, I dunno, everything, just got to me, and I felt this knot in my stomach. Like someone was turning a knife in there. And I knew - I just KNEW - that if I didn't turn around and head back home, I was going to throw up right there in the car.

So, I turned around and went home. And sure enough, after I had gone maybe five or six miles, the pain eased, and I started to relax.

And the entire way home, all I could think was, what the fuck? Is it working from home that's doing this to me? Have I not been careful enough with myself? Have I let myself worry too much about things without taking action to resolve them? Am I going to, ultimately, end up like my mother, who never left the fucking house for more than an hour at a time because it was too stressful for her?

Everything finally just came pouring out, pouring over me, and I just started to cry. I don't let people see me cry most of the time, lately. Not even Tom. I mostly do it in private, mostly in the car when I'm driving and I can't stop my thoughts from overwhelming me.

And then I wondered, is it just me, or is everybody like this? Do we all just put on these brave faces and walk around like nothing's wrong when we're really all just falling apart completely inside?

And what the hell does any of this have to do with my beadwork?

All I know now is that there was a glorious sunset in the mountains across the river valley tonight, and now that my stomach has calmed down, I'm going to eat a nourishing dinner, listen to some music, do some work while Colden plays with his toy airplanes, and then treat myself to a long, hot, lavender bubble bath.

I have a lot to do before Saturday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It was a relief to get back to some beading this afternoon. I'm nearly finished with the triple-herringbone rope with the Chinese stone pendant necklace, so I set that one aside and started working on a new piece.

I've had this beautiful stone pendant for FOREVER, from a wonderful friend of mine. And then I got these huge glass spikes. I had originally thought about using the spikes in a cuff bracelet, but instead, I thought about wrapping them in peyote stitch and making a spiky collar with them.

It's gonna take a while, as my friend pointed out. Each one of those double-ended spike components takes a little over an hour, and I still have to make enough of them to go around a neck and then figure out how to use right-angle weave to connect them.

It felt good to get stuff out of the way this morning and then have the afternoon to sit and bead. I've missed the feeling of the beads between my fingers and the rhythm of the stitches...


Make no mistake: your words carry power.

The other day, someone said something to me that was very funny and sweet, and it made me smile right down to my toes. I carried it with me all through the weekend.

What you say to someone can make or break their day. Choose them wisely.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Thinking of you again today, thinking about how our hands, our faces, touch. The realism of it all, the warmth. It's moved beyond the beginnings now, moved into a new sort of energy.

We move together, we move apart. Sometimes I'm too far ahead, you remind me to slow down. I can tell you that I know what it's like, but I won't ever know if you really believe me.

But I do know. I know what it's like to want to move away from it all, into my own little center where everything is safe. It's exhausting, days like this. At the end of the day, there's nothing left of me, and I get ferocious with anyone who thinks that they can just have whatever they want of me.

And really, neither one of us knows why the hell we're doing this. What's in it for me, I think? Why would I do this? Why would you? There seems to be a hell of a lot to lose in this game.

And then I remember, it's the kindling of spirit that makes it worth my while. Inspiration from a similar soul who knows how to engage me, who knows how to fill me.

At the end of the day, I will smile, too.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Spirit of Bead Embroidery

One of my purchases at Bead Fest was a copy of Heidi Kummli's latest book, The Spirit of Bead Embroidery. I've been fascinated by Heidi's techniques for bead embroidery and the meanings behind her elaborate pieces of bead embroidery for years, and her book was definitely NOT a disappointment.

Heidi gives thorough instructions for all of her bead embroidery techniques, and most of these assume that you have some experience with bead embroidery. The basic techniques section at the beginning of the book is just that - very basic. But, as you work through each of the projects, you get a much clearer set of instructions.

Once you've flipped through the materials and basic techniques section, the real meat of the book is all the wonderful information about the meanings and spiritual connotations behind the gemstones, animal symbols and totems, and colors that are used in Heidi's bead embroidery projects.

Ever since my experiences with the traveling Buddhist monks earlier this year, I've been more interested in infusing some spiritual symbols into my beadwork. Heidi's book is the perfect introduction for anyone who wants their beadwork to reflect a deeper meaning.

I was so inspired by the information and projects in this book that I went out and found a couple of handmade porcelain pieces by Laura Mears that happen to be my totem animals.

The first one that I started working on was this gorgeous cougar. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so three-dimensional, but it's perfect, and I love it.

The gemstone cabochon in this piece is the one I picked up from Gary Wilson's booth at Bead Fest Philadelphia this year. Beautiful and unusual, I felt more than a little guilty smearing the back of it with glue to affix it to the Beadbacking before I started stitching. Same goes for the Laura Mears piece - I felt like I was defacing the Mona Lisa!

I can't be the only one who feels like that, right?

At any rate, I decided to come up with a different way to use the lovely little green tree frog, also by Laura Mears, so that I didn't have to glue it. Part of the reason is that the design on the tree frog goes all the way around the bead, and I think I would have beat myself up for years if I had decided to glue that one down, too. Instead, I'm using a crescent-shaped brass bead embroidery blank and will dangle the froggy down from the center of the piece, underneath a gorgeous green turquoise cabochon. (You'll just have to wait and see.)

And, since I wrote this blog really just as a way to procrastinate instead of doing what I should actually be working on this morning, it's time to sign off.

Tomorrow: Colden and I are taking some friends to meet up at the Tucker's Taters Corn Maze out in Gabriels. A sunset romp in the maze followed by a bonfire and some s'mores will be just the thing for a lovely fall evening!