Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spring - finally!

Well, it seems spring has officially come to our neck of the woods. The flowers and trees seemed to be holding their collective breath and then ... one warm day and - kaboom! They bloomed, and bloomed, and bloomed....

These tulips and daffodils line our driveway. In normal years, the daffodils bloom first and are almost gone by the time the tulips start to show. This year - well, you can see the beautiful riot of colors that greets us when we return home.

Bulbs are such a gardeners' leap of faith. It seems to be quite a chore to plant them in the fall. Often it's a little nippy and/or windy when they are planted and it just isn't the most pleasant job. But then, in the spring, all the work is rewarded many times over with the glorious reminder of the return of the sun!

So, this is what happened to the beads I showed in my last post. You can see I added to the "collection".

I love this style of necklace. It may look like a random conglomeration, but you would be surprised how much thought goes into the combos and the placement of the beads.

It is casual enough to throw on with a pair of jeans and a T shirt and these colors match so many things that I wear.

The central bead is the hollow at the bottom of the picture and then there are symbols of life and spring - fauna and flora - a birdie (done in a style I have seen used by Jen Geldard - thinking of her because the class I was to have taken from her last weekend was cancelled - dang!), a fish, a butterfly and a flower.

Sometimes when I am somewhat uninspired, I grab a couple of colors and just go to town trying to make every style I can think of with those few. In this case, it was Lapis and Aloe Vera. I discovered that the dark sage transparent works well with the combo as well as a lighter blue.

Maybe next, it'll be the colors of the first picture. How springy would that be?

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Beads

In celebration of the spring, I decided to make a trillium bead. Wasn't sure exactly how to do this, but I've been wanting to try working with enameled stringers and this was the result.

This is a focal size in that it would basically stand alone in a necklace, probably around 25 cm or so long.

The base is opal yellow, a special color which I tend to just hoard instead of using it. See the blushing going on in the background?

The set is called Kalahari Sunset. I've, of course, never been tot he Kalahari, but I suspect that the shifting sands and winds would tend to make for some pretty spectacular sunsets there.

The base is just a basic purple color, but the addition of the sringers seemed to change it into a dark magenta.

At first I wasn't pleased with the set, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Naming it didn't hurt either!

This bizarre little group of beads was inspired by the colors I was wearing yesterday in the shop.

The green color is Aloe Vera - a very soft green that looks a lot like copper blue, but is a bit more green. I paired with with lapiz which often seems harsh, but in this case, I think it just jazzes up the soft green.

A little sampler set using variations on the same basic colors is always a way to get me out of a "block" it seems and I've certainly been in one of those for some time.

I tend to wear these colors - certainly the blue - so I think I will add to the set and then make up one of my funky necklaces that is mostly chain with a lot of beads scattered along its length.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


It seems that everything flies past, so busy, busy, busy... Making soap, working on the torch, doing shows, filling orders, chatting on the phone or on the internet.

But, yesterday things slowed down. Bob and I were just getting ready to leave the house on some errands and the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech came on the TV. We watched in shock, but then left to finish up our chores. The radio was on in the car, tuned to the news and we heard as the death count mounted to unbelievable numbers.

Along with the news, the violent wind and rain of the day took its toll as we came home to a house with no electricity. I had already begun stringing up this fairy necklace and so, in the relative quiet (even though we still had the portable radio tuned to the news) I worked this. I'm so glad I had something to occupy my mind and hands although I must admit it was hard to keep working steadily on it until the electricity came back on. I was restless and hungry to know how on earth this had happened.

Having a son away at college gave me an extra jolt at this news and I felt the need to connect with him - he had not yet heard anything about the events at VA Tech and was uncharacteristically shocked. He was in high school when Columbine happened and so, I relived that day as well. I am so grateful he has never been exposed to this kind of tragedy and yet I feel the possibility exists everywhere.

The news media, having run out of facts, decided to start pointing fingers. So sad. The perpetrator was dead. Enough have paid for this crime. The only thing we can think of that the college administration can do now is to construct a better alarm system. They did the best they could with the information available at the time.

It just seemed that the day went in slow motion.... Let us hope this is the last of this sort of thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


In more ways than one!

I've been feeling really snowed under lately with no time for fun stuff, but today, I feel that we've hit a turning point.

Tina & I are teaching an online class on "Balms & Salves". We send out kits and the participants will receive enough raw materials and packaging to make their own lip balms, lotion bar and 2 different salves. All the instructions will be online and a special Yahoo group will be opened for the participants. She did something like this last month for incense making and it went very well.

We would have loved an opportunity like this in the early days because we are sending small samples of a lot of different ingredients so they will get a chance to see what various things are like and what they do.

The kit making was hanging over our heads and we finally got it all together and packed up all the orders to date.

Meanwhile, I had an order for 40 of my soap beads.

They are really a production item - not the favorite of someone who likes to create something unique, but they do help pay the bills!

I knew I had to get them made and today, the last batch came out of the kiln. Now to wire them up to jump rings and send them out. As soon as I get the findings I ordered, they will be finished.

Meanwhile, last week it occured to me that the idea of putting everything together at the "end of the year" for taxes was not a very good idea. Things get piled around and then misplaced.

Now that I have a few moments of breathing room, I am re-organizing my systems and planning to set a few hours aside every week to update my records so nothing goes unrecorded in the future. My accountant will love me for it next year. No more waiting for Maryanne to get her act together at the last minute.

Tomorrow, we make some special order soap and as soon as I figure out where I will be staying in two weeks when I take my class with Jen Geldard(!) I will feel that I am in complete control of my life - uhuh!