Thursday, January 31, 2013


A few weeks ago, I was talking to a yoga teacher friend of mine about how dizzy I got during a couple of yoga classes. I mentioned to her that when I stopped to observe myself during the poses, I noticed that I was breathing quite deeply, but that those breaths felt forced, not natural at all.

She recommended that instead of focusing so much on my breath that I just observe my breath. She told me to just step back and let my body do what it wanted to do naturally, and not to make myself inhale and exhale on command.

So, I did. At my last two yoga classes, and during some of my home practice, I let go of everything that I had been doing in the past and just allowed my body to breathe on its own.

The first thing that I noticed was that I was *still* inhaling and exhaling during certain movements. I tried to withdraw a bit and reminded myself not to force the breath, but just to gently observe.

What I discovered while quietly observing was that there are certain movements that I make during poses where I can't help but inhale or exhale. The body wants to do those things naturally when making these movements, apparently, or at least, my body wants to do those inhales and exhales naturally. All I need to do is pay attention and be mindful of my movements, and my body will do what it needs/wants to do naturally.

It made me think a little bit more about how yoga is like beading. It's an active, mindful meditation that requires you let go of everything in order to get the most out of it. For me, yoga gets me in touch with who I really am. Just like with beading, in order to design great art, you need to know who you are and not be afraid to express yourself.

Which leads me to my next venture... At yoga class the other night, as the instructor and I were talking, she told me that she and her husband own a place called The Hostel in Keene Valley. It's nestled right in the heart of the High Peaks here in the Adirondack mountains, and it's going to make the perfect venue for the first Adirondack Spirit Bead Retreat.

We're still working on the details like dates, but right now, we're planning on a small, intimate retreat (no more than 15 attendees) who want to come together to explore some gentle yoga and easy meditation techniques to see how these activities can impact their creativity. My sweet friend Beki is going to bring Whimbeads to us here in New York (because we gotta have seed beads at a bead retreat, right?), and I'm looking into two possible caterers to serve us fresh, local, organic, healthy meals.

So, if you're interested in learning more about how the mind-body connection can improve your creativity and improve your life, stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Now What?

I love this scene from the end of Finding Nemo:

Take a minute and watch the full video. It's worth a laugh, I promise you.

Very often during my design process, I start to feel like those fish in the bags. I start to play with the beads, things are humming along smoothly, and then I just...stop. I have a very pretty little snippet of beadwork or a component or something, but it sits there on my table, looking up at me, and asking, "Now what?"

You see, I've got these two very pretty little motifs that I made using some Twins and SuperDuos. (Ever since I got that ginormous box of Twins from Preciosa, I've been in two-holed-seed-bead-heaven.) So many possibilities! The stitches! The accents! The dimensions!

The gold and pearl piece on the left was born out of the piece on the right, which was born out of my initial experiments with the Twins using flat circular peyote stitch. I started the piece on the right with the intention of it being flat, but since I used SuperDuos instead of Twins, the spacing was just a tiny bit different, which gave it some dimension. And what do I do with a piece that wants to be three-dimensional?

I give it even more dimension by topping it with a spike bead.

(I do have to give a great big shout-out thank you to my friend Perry down at York Beads in New York City - he sent me the lovely cream colored druks that I used in the pointy piece.)

So, what was the point of all of this? (Pardon the pun.) Oh, right...I've finished the pretty little motif, and now what?

Obviously, I've got to chain them together somehow so that they can be worn, either as a necklace or a bracelet. But for some reason, the thought of designing a flat chain with the Twins and SuperDuos is just, well, scary.

This is where I'll probably back off for a little while and let the creative juices in my head do their thing. Or maybe I'll just sit down with the beads at lunch and a short piece of thread and see what the beads themselves want to do.

And after I get these all figured out and photographed and get instructions written down, maybe a new eBook? (After I get the bezel eBook finished in all my spare time, right?)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Am

Image courtesy of Free Digital
I woke up early again this morning, after seven hours of good sleep. Colden was still fast asleep, and Tom had already risen and started chicken chores and clearing the driveway of last night's snowfall.

Before I started breakfast, I rolled out the yoga mat and sat in quiet meditation for a few minutes in front of the wood stove. Just following my breath, setting my intentions for the day. I let my monkey mind run around for a few minutes before I quieted it and let myself go deeper.

Did a few gentle stretches to get the blood flowing, and I hadn't realized how stiff I was. My back creaked and my knees popped as I got into the dynamic poses.

To end, I sat in meditation again for a few minutes. Once again, I brought my intentions for the day come to the front of my mind. I thought, "I am happy. I am healthy. I am productive. I am creative."

I thought a lot about the "I am happy" part. I thought about all the things that I feel like I *have* to do during the day - things like doing the dishes, the laundry, making the beds, cooking dinner. Some days, I just get no joy out of those things - I mean, really, does anybody really look forward to doing housework and chores?

Then I started to think about how happy Colden is in the morning when I serve him his oatmeal or his scrambled eggs. I think about how it makes Tom happy that I cook healthy food for dinner. And making them happy makes ME happy. Making others happy does, indeed, seem to be the way to make yourself happy, sometimes.

Don't get me wrong - there are times when I just *need* to ditch it all and hide out in a warm lavender bathtub with a good book and a couple of candles for a while. I'm not saying we need to ignore our own needs all the time, but thinking about how you can make your loved ones happy is a pretty good start to figuring out what makes YOU happy.

So, I've dropped my kid off at preschool. I've set my intentions for the day. I've settled down in front of the computer with some music and my water bottle. I've got two or three big projects to work on this week, one of which is a dream I've had for the last three years. And I think it's finally going to be a real thing!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three Motifs

Friday night was the night before the full moon. So, naturally, I laid in bed for forty-five minutes before I realized that I was wide awake and that there was not going to be any sleeping any time soon.

So, I got up, put together a snack, lit a candle, and got my beads out. I put on some old episodes of Frasier and made these three motifs, wonky spacing worked out and all!

Now the hard part is going to be figuring out how to join them together. I think I know how to make the neck strap. I just need to figure out how to make each of these little beauties "flow" into the other.

I made photocopies of the first motif and then played around with spacing and arrangement, but for me, there's no substitute for having the actual finished pieces to work with.

These Twins are just so much fun! I'm really enjoying the challenge of designing with them...who woulda thought that two holes would be better than one?

On that note, I have a whole slew of pieces floating around in my head, as usual. A wild piece using some baby spikes, a bracelet using whopper spikes and baby spikes, a couple of ropes using gumdrops, and my latest Beadwork magazine challenge piece, which showed up on the back porch yesterday while we were out birding.

Meanwhile, Tom wants to get going with the cleaning/reorganization/furniture moving project in the bedroom. But I'm just having a really hard time motivating myself to get away from the beads and get in there... On the other hand, he doesn't appear ready to part with his Murray McMurray chicken catalog any time soon, either, so...

Friday, January 25, 2013


Sweep, sweep me under
your arms and your breath and your

Sinking back
and over and I can't tell
where it all ends.

All I know is that
in this moment,
we are.


Please pardon the crappy iPhone photo, but this is how I started my morning. I'm still playing with my new stash of Twin beads, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying this whole two-hole bead phenomena.

At first, I looked at this baby-blue color in the bag and thought to myself, "What the HELL am I going to do with THESE?" And not in a good way, either.

Somehow, during one of my crazed organizing missions, I came across this stash of 3mm dark turquoise druks that I've been hoarding for the last couple of years (no doubt bought on sale from Artbeads, just because I thought, hey, I don't have enough beads...), and voila! Throw in some creamy opaque seed beads for contrast, and I have what looks to be a very promising start to a new design.

Other things are starting to feel promising, too. Yes, the anxiety is still there, and yes, it still feels overwhelming, particularly first thing in the morning and last thing at night when I'm trying to go to sleep. Yes, I'm still having a good cry in the shower every morning to release some of the adrenaline so I can get on with my day, but, behind it all, knowing that I finally decided to reach out and get help is turning out to be a huge comfort for me. I'm reminding myself that it *will* get better, and that things won't be like this for very much longer.

Since Wednesday, I've started to feel more like myself again. Not perfect, not great, but there are things I can reassure myself with now that I couldn't before.

I'm engaged in sort of a countdown: ten days until my appointment with this new psychiatrist. I don't know if I'll like him or not, but according to my regular doctor, he specializes in treating anxiety disorder, and he's not the type of doctor who just throws a prescription at you and shows you the door. That sounds pretty good to me.

So, I wait. Ten days seems like an eternity right now, and I'm sure when I wake up at 2 a.m. and can't get back to sleep, it will seem downright impossible. But, for now...

Thursday, January 24, 2013


My question for today is: From where do you draw your energy?

For me, no question, hands down, my music is the place where I seem to be able to draw the most energy when I need it. I don't know what it is, but there are certain songs, on certain days, that have the ability to both transform my thoughts and transport me to a different place, a different situation.

There are songs that make me cry with joy when I turn them up loud. There are songs that I love until it makes my stomach hurt. There are the lyrics from hundreds of songs from twenty years ago stashed in the dusty little corners of my brain, and damn it all if I can't recall those songs easier than I can recall what the hell I walked into the grocery store for ten minutes earlier...

There are songs that I love for their contemplative nature. Songs that I play when I take a drive through the back roads of Jay and look at the farms and the fields and the mountains and the sky. Those are the songs that I carry with me from day to day.

There are songs that haunt me at night, when I can't sleep, and my mind refuses to shut itself off.

This is one of those contemplative songs that I listen to during the late afternoon when the sun hangs low in the sky and I'm taking a ride through the back roads and planning my next move... Enjoy.


My question for you today is: What brings you joy?

It's been so long since I really thought about that kind of thing. I've been so busy, pretending to be the hamster on the wheel, that I feel like I've forgotten about the kinds of things that bring me joy.

I'm a Taurus, so naturally, I tend to lean towards the sensuous: things that I can touch and smell and taste.

Maybe it sounds trite and cliche, but for me, there's nothing like the feel of a brand-new beading needle in my fingers. Some of the reasons why I love to do what I do include the sensation of pouring a pile of tiny seed beads onto my bead board; the feel of the thread being pulled through the layers of beads and fabrics as I stitch. The colors of the beads as they blend flow throughout the piece. The sounds of the beads as I pour them back into their containers or fit them back into a storage box.

There are other things that don't have to do with beads, too: the smell and the warmth of a cup of fresh hot chocolate - nothing from an envelope, mind you, it's got to be real milk and real chocolate shavings, warmed in a pot on the stove top.

I love the sensation of slipping into a warm bath with my favorite lavender oils; the sight of a small candle glowing on the mantel over the fire. Let's just say that when I enjoy something, I tend to enjoy it fully, with every one of my five senses.

I've always been a very physical person. It's the sensations that come from being alive that bring me the most joy in my life, I think.

What brings you joy?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


This is what happens when I allow myself to venture out of the house during the day. I end up visiting my friend in her awesome toy shop on Main Street in Lake Placid, and I walk outta there with a pair of alligator ear buds.

I needed a bit of brevity this afternoon. It's been a rough couple of months around here.

I had a follow-up with my regular doctor this morning, seven weeks after my initial collapse at the beginning of December. (It's a damn good thing that it was nothing life-threatening, or I'd be dead by now.) At any rate, I decided that the anxiety has gotten to the level where it is ruining my life, and it's time to address that. So, after a good half-hour discussing the options with my doctor, she gave me a couple of referrals and I'm ready to move on and get my life back.

It wasn't an easy thing to admit, but she knows me. She's only been my primary care doctor for about three years, but she is not only a wonderful physician, she's compassionate, and she listens to her patients. (Which is probably the reason why it took seven weeks for me to get an appointment with her.)

After the appointment, I decided to go for a ride through the back roads before I went home to finish up work and make dinner. It was a beautiful, glorious, winter afternoon, with a bright sun shining down on the fields of white snow. I drove past the highland cattle farm, the old graveyard, the covered bridge, Asgaard Farm... The moon, nearly full, was hanging in the sky like a piece of tissue paper up against a water-color background.

I thought about getting out of the car to take some pictures to share with people, but then I thought, no, this afternoon is just for me. This is my town, these are my thoughts, this is my experience today.

It hasn't been easy dealing with the anxiety the last two months. It's been a lot of trying to convince myself that I'm okay, while at the same time, trying to convince myself that I need to get back into therapy. It's been trying to keep everything in balance, while feeling like I'm about to drive myself over the proverbial cliff.

After I talked to the doctor today, I have to admit, I felt more like my old self than I have in many weeks. As a matter of fact, it was nice just to feel SOMETHING other than the numbness and terror after these last couple of months.

Last week, I was venting some angst to a friend, and he said something to me that not only put things into perspective about why I am the way I am, but also made me realize how much I value him and our conversations. Then, as I walked back to the car after I saw my friend in her store on Main Street this afternoon, I thought to myself, I really don't have a lot to be afraid of, now.

I have, without a doubt, some of the best friends a person could have, and I'm really, really lucky. I've got an amazing support network, which is something that a lot of people who struggle with this kind of thing don't have. 

So, what now? Well, there are dishes to be washed, dinner to be cooked and served, laundry to wash, the wood rack needs to be filled up in anticipation of the 25-below-zero temperatures the forecast is calling for tonight, and I still need to finish up some work stuff.

However... All that has to wait until Tom and Colden come in from the workshop, where Tom is building Colden a pirate ship out of scrap wood...

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Too Many Twins!

So, wow, last week, I got a message from someone at the Preciosa Ornela company (*the* manufacturer of Czech glass beads) that I had been selected as one of the December winners of their Beads for Blog Post promotion! What did that mean?

It meant that I got a lot of beads. Like, 1,000 grams of beads. A full kilo!

I wasn't expecting my beads until later this week, but sure enough, first thing Monday morning, the DHL guy showed up, sending Moose into a crazed frenzy while I tried to get out onto the back porch and sign for my box.

Inside was a hoard of beady treasures!

In addition to the thirteen (13!) 50 gram packs of Twin beads, there was a package of size 11 seeds, a package of peanut beads, a huge bag of pearlized rounds and pressed glass beads, a couple of funky pens and pencils, a pin, a note pad, a bead mat, and a whole stack of tutorials! Czech seed bead heaven, for sure!

I started playing with the Twins in flat circular peyote stitch, and came up with a few interesting ideas. My sister has requested a small-ish beaded chain to wear, and I picked out a beautiful matte grey/white color of Twins and some metallic grey-brown seeds from my own stash.

I also started playing with the Twins doing tubular peyote. While I love the feel of the chain (sort of like a midweight mesh chain), I can't stand the sight of the holes and thread between beads! Ack! I may have to experiment with adding some smaller 15s between each Twin, or maybe some larger beads... Either way, even though I didn't like the exposed holes, I loved the feel of the finished tube, so this definitely deserves some more attention.

If you're a bead blogger, you need to check out the Preciosa Ornela Beads for Blog Post promotion. It's like they used to say about the New York Lottery: You can't win if you don't enter!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

Well, it's been far too long since I've updated this blog. But today, I have a good reason: Lori Anderson's Memories and Thanks Blog Hop!

I didn't know bead artist Linda Jones for very long. I "met" her after her diagnosis with a brain tumor, but I had been an admirer of her incredible beadwork for many years. She was one of those artists that knew how to combine fine art with beadwork. Her beadwork is absolutely amazing, sublime, ferocious - I can't think of any more superlatives to throw in there.

And the more I got to know her through our chats and postings on Facebook, the more I realized that she was just a beautiful person, inside and out.

I learned so much from Linda, both about art and beadwork and life, and about death and dignity. After her diagnosis, she started a blog called How Public Like a Frog to document her battle with brain cancer.

Linda passed away at the end of August. A couple of weeks later, as I was meditating one morning, a vision of her face came into my mind, followed by a beautiful and radiant sun. Later that morning, I pulled out this face by Diane Briegleb from my stash and started to sketch and bead around it, thinking about Linda the whole time.

I remember one post she wrote in particular about how she was looking at the mums in pots on her patio and thinking that they were singing to her. So I started stitching up a bouquet of beaded mums to include in the piece as well.

Even though this as only as far as I've been able to get in the last few weeks, I *will* have this piece finished before the end of the month. The working title is simple, "She Loves...", and I have dedicated it to Linda and everything that she taught me about beading, art, and life in the short time that I knew her.

Take a couple of hours and hop around to see what other wonderful thanks and memories other jewelry artists are sharing today on their blogs! And a special thanks to Lori Anderson, once again, for finding another way of bringing the jewelry making and beading community together.


 Adlinah Kamsir                   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo               Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache                 All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu               Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank                      Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway                   Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem                         Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake                    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery                         Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle                Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick                       Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King                    Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier                      The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz                     Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler                   FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka                       Clay Space
Christina Hickman              Vintage Treasures Jewelry

Christine Stonefield            Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman               Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson                      It's My Sea of Dreams
Crystal Thain                      Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin                        Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen             A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman             Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez                  Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey                    diane hawkey
Dita Basu                            ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington             Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd                        A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny                         beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz                  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen                        Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston                 CSW Designs
Inge von Roos                    Inge's Blog

Jacqueline Marchant          Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp                         Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates                          Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo                   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten    Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren                  Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray                   Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams                     lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton            It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne                   josjewels1
Jodie Marshall                    Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes                 Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen                 Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe                       The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean                           Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell                   Over the Moon Designs
Karin King                         The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton                       Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas                       Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton                        Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson     The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor                          Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak                       CianciBlue
Kim Houston                       The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter                         Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton                Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch                          LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus                      First Impression Design
Lena Adams (Mari's daughter) -- TBA
Liddy McLaughlin               Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian                       Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder                     Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton                      Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver                            Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud        Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe                           Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell                    Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron                       Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster                 MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne                     The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert                      Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite     bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo                        Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo                           Ornamento
Marti Conrad                          Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker                  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars                        MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell                          Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly                 Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay                       The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin                         The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara                      one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta                         Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz              la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi               Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody               Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett                          Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen                    Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson                  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas                      Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren                           re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister        The Crazy Creative Corner

Priya Krish                           Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson               Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag                 Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed                   Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson                  a creative chelle
Sabine Dittrich                     perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe                          Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff                    Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode                         Pookledo
Sarah Singer                         String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent                         All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams                       Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac                        Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis                         Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner        Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey                       Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun                         Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z                         Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler              Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey                        Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.                                Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter                         Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk                    Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels                       Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse                         Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin                        Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks                              Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin                          Beads, Tea and Sweets