Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Nature of Clouds...

Blood rushing in my eardrums, sweat pouring down my face, and slightly out of breath, I stood on top of the mountain and took in the view.  Stretching out before me like rumpled blankets, the distant mountains seemed almost fuzzy.  I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that what looked like plush flocking was actually the canopy of innumerable trees.  I knew that if I had been standing next to any one of them, the tree would have been much taller and more imposing than me.  But from here, it was just a small, distant thing.  It was a tiny dot of green amongst a rolling ocean of the color.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Tucked under a stack of books, I found an old journal.  As soon as I picked it up, I knew exactly what it was.  I had spent hours scribbling in it.  The feel of it in my hands was so familiar.  I found one entry where I had pressed the pen so hard into the paper, I was surprised I hadn't punctured the page with my letters.  I ran my fingers over the deep grooves and recalled without having to read what I wrote what troubled me.  At the time, it seemed so monumental.  I remember how angry and sad I was and how it seemed like I would never feel anything but that.  And now... it was just a small, distant thing.  Had I not come across the journal, I doubt I would have even thought of what once made me so intensely overwhelmed.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Whenever I am upset or perplexed with how I am going to handle a situation, I try to remember that slightly lightheaded feeling of standing on top of that mountain.  I try to remember the sky, so vast and seemingly endless, and how it spread out above me and outward.  Light filtered through the fast-moving, masses of fluff.  The clouds arrange themselves in a morphing picture.  One minute I can make out a face in the clouds... the next, an elephant.  Up so high, it's almost as though I can reach out and touch one and run my fingers though it, shaping it and forming it.  I try to imagine my problem as a bug.  It is a bug on a leaf, on a tree, surrounded by other trees, surrounded by more trees, on a mountain, surrounded by other mountains.  The bug is there... to be certain... but it is so small in comparison.  We can spread our arms heavenward, or stare at the mosquito.  I choose to think on the nature of clouds.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Essential and Necessary...

Sometimes when I get frustrated, I ask myself... "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" Surprisingly, the answer is almost always a resounding, "NO!" Though, the answer isn't always clear at first. The human mind can be a trickster and invent a thousand scenarios where that which is causing internal conflict can be validated and assumed to be unshakable. In these cases, where it appears to be necessary, but there is a linger doubt, I ask myself again: "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" The purpose of this exercise is not one of redundancy, but one of finding the truth.

While we may never condone lying to others, I have found that it is deceptively simple and very easy to lie to ourselves. This is especially problematic for those who are naturally more empathetic. For instance, if someone is cruel to me, I am a master of rationalization. I think to myself, "Maybe they're having a bad day? Maybe I did something to offend them? Maybe there was a miscommunication? Maybe they got stuck in traffic... maybe they lost their keys... got a flat tire... woke up on the wrong side of the bed... etc. etc. etc." But at the end of the day, this does not change nor negate that they were cruel to me. And so I circle back to... "Is this essential? Is this necessary?" When it comes to cruelty or frustration, rarely is it ever essential or necessary.

So you've identified that the situation is not essential nor is it necessary. What then? Once true honesty is reached, it can seem like things are locked in a standstill. You've fought valiantly to arrive at this personal epiphany... and then? Then comes action. When you have determined that is or isn't needed in your life, you give yourself permission to make decisions about how to handle your dilemma. Usually after rigorously questioning yourself, there is a sense of perspective that is achieved and the answers fall into place. The answers aren't always pretty and the consequences to your actions can seem scarier and more difficult than the original problem, but if that which is causing you anxiety or apprehension is truly unessential and unnecessary, then it makes doing what is essential and necessary somehow easier with the comfort of this knowledge.  That knowledge gives us courage to do what needs to be done to be happier, healthier, and more productive.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Thinking Fall 2016...

Back in February, when Pantone announced their Fashion Color Report for Fall 2016, autumn seemed a lifetime away!  Now that it's August, fall is just around the corner and the first tinges of the new season can be felt in the air!  Truthfully, I like to revisit the Color Reports from time to time.  It's not just because their color palettes and color combinations are endlessly inspirational, but I really admire their thoughtful approach to color.  They recognize the power that color has on our lives and how it can be a reflection of our times.  Leatrice Eiseman wrote, "The desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette..."  With everything going on in the world, these words couldn't be more apt.  CLICK HERE to visit the Color Report for Fall 2016.  I encourage you all to take a few moments to read through the report and spend a little time with their interpretation of the color forecast.

Also, keep your eyes peeled!  The new Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2017 should debut in about a month!  This report usually surfaces in early September and includes the future Color of the Year (which is normally announced in early December), so it's always exciting to take bets and see what the new annual color will be!

Bloglovin'...

As I'm ramping up my blogging again, I decided to finally claim my blog on Bloglovin'.  It's a really cool and EASY service that allows you to follow blogs through your email.  I just discovered that people were already using this service to follow my blog... so why not make it official?  If you'd like to keep up with my latest posts, click the link above.

Bead&Button Show 2016...

I've had these pictures on my desktop since we returned from Milwaukee.  As a result, I've seen them every day for almost two months.  They make me smile, remembering how nice it was to see so many friends and familiar faces, but I'm determined to mark things off my "Things To Do" list.  Each year, I do a big round up post of all the pictures I took at Bead&Button.  This is one of the things that has sort of been hovering over me.  (Usually it's done in a more timely fashion, but better late than never... right?)

Normally I do a pretty extensive write-up to go along with all the pictures, but I've already added most of these to Facebook and have already tagged and captioned them there.  I think this style of photo essay sort of captures the blur and enormity of the event.  We fit a lot into a few days...
















Mark Making...

Lately, I've been searching for a more meaningful way to connect to people on the internet.  I've been a little overwhelmed with the onslaught of emotions on some of the other social media outlets, and decided to try and reconnect with my blog after being estranged from the routine of updating on a regular basis.  I've had the intention for a few months now to try and really get back into the habit, but it just hasn't clicked.  After reading yet another post about senseless violence and brutality, it finally pushed me over the edge.

As I visited my blog (admittedly for the first time in several weeks) and looked closer, I realized just how neglected it was.  If virtual tumbleweeds and cobwebs existed, they would have been here.  The header banner was one I had been using for far too long and the sidebars were littered with dead links.  I systematically went through the lists and realized just how daunting of a project this would be.  Whereas once I used to keep daily accounts of my friends and colleagues through my blog, as a sort of springboard into the activities of the blogosphere and beyond, I've since replaced and supplemented it with other social media outlets and as a result, have not been diligent in maintaining a presence on my blog.

So far, I've done some cosmetic changes and done a cursory once over.  I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me a little sad.  So many people who I once used to hold a daily communion with, even if over the invisible threads of blogosphere, have disappeared or moved on.  I read post after post about people distracted by life, saying farewell, and hoping to be better bloggers in the future.  Some of the posts were months old... some even years old.  They felt like carved initials in a tree trunk, with some letters freshly scored and others... fading into illegibility.  I felt guilty for not being there to wish them well on their new ventures or encourage them to keep going.  All was not completely lost though.  A few links were bright and fresh, with newly updated posts.  Even with some of the blogs that have ended, I know that they've just shifted their focus and their energy and I can keep up with them in other ways.

As I ran my fingers quickly over the imaginary gouged out letters, I felt a splinter or two prick my fingertips.  I found remnants of former friendships that have since ended.  For a few brief moments, I thought about attempting to reach out and mend fences.  Then better judgement kicked in.  There were reasons why certain relationships ended and a dead link on a much neglected blog isn't a compelling enough motivation for me to revisit those missteps.  Why dwell on the negative?  I've started already, but it will take some serious time for me to go through the lists and cull those who I no longer resonate with or are who are no longer active.  Even more time will be necessary to add new links and highlight new friendships and business relationships.

Just like a forgotten tree house, it'll take time to beat out the rug, blow off the dust, and repair all the creaking, loose boards.  And maybe if I hang the flag high enough and make my tree house inviting once more, some of those friends who I miss and who used to post the most brilliant, beautiful, moving things will do so again.  We'll throw our heads back, hoot and holler, and shout out into the wild – calling our kindred spirits to us.  I'll invite them over for tea and lemonade and animal crackers.  We'll swing on the tire swing and make new memories.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Hold On...

Can it really be over a month since I last updated?  It feels so strange when I think about it.  Once upon a time, I updated two or three times a day and often times held back from updating more.  The radio silence isn't from a lack of things to report.  Life has been very full and brimming with activity.

I think though I've needed some quiet time.  I haven't abandoned the world completely.  I've tried to keep up through Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram.  But even with those things... I have to admit that it has been hard to hold my attention for very long.

Up until recently there was such an urgency to stand still.  I couldn't wait for time to create and breathe.  And now that I have it... well... the challenge is finding a balance and a rhythm.  I've never been very good at creating sustainable routines.  I've always bitten off more than I could chew and attacked it with vigor.  I just got used to walking around with this deep down tiredness.  It wasn't a bad thing.  I'm proud of the things I've made and the accomplishments that I've achieved.  The tiredness was something I earned.  It was a confirmation that I had worked hard.  What I created was rewarding, but at the same time something that I couldn't maintain or sustain longterm.

Now that I have more time and more freedom, the question becomes how to slow the pace down, without coming to a grinding halt.  When you're used to rolling down a hill, picking up speed, level ground can seem maddening and sometimes more than a little frustrating.  Going uphill can almost seem like you aren't going anywhere at all.

Knowing exactly what to do isn't easy.  I don't think I've ever been in this position before.  It's kind of like guessing what the best medicine is.  I suppose the idea is to treat the symptoms and hope it takes care of the root of the problem.  Really, I think I just need to do a deep clean and a deep purge and get organized.  And... not just with my possessions either.  I have all these lingering projects and commitments.  I'm a member of all these clubs and committees, but in so many ways, my participation is in name only, because I am too concerned about taking on anymore responsibility.  I don't want to let anyone down, but I also don't want to drop out completely.  I also have stacks of projects on my work bench that I need to finish.  They pile up, making my list longer and longer.  I mentally run through the list and get tired just thinking of all the things that need to get done.  I do know that the satisfaction of crossing things off that list will be balm for the soul.  Regardless of whether or not it solves the world's problems, at least it'll make me feel better.

Writing these words, I see now that there's something else missing.  While I've enjoyed my time away from blogging, I think I've inadvertently done myself a disservice.  Blogging, whether done publicly or for my eyes only, allowed me to collect my thoughts and organize my ideas.  The other forms of social media are great, but they seem so ephemeral in comparison.  I have to admit... I tried SnapChat.  It seemed so futile to me though.  Like I was constantly feeding a beast, but I was only getting empty calories in return.  The depth and nourishment just wasn't there.  What I made and presented to the world was there and then it was gone.  I imagine that there's a deeper beauty in this message – a statement on life and death and our society.  It's just not the message for me at this time.  I want to dig my fingers in and grab at life, capturing the moment, and making it mine.  I might have to give it up eventually... we all have to give it up eventually... but for now, I want to hold on to it and call it my own until it is gone.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Doreen Kassel Workshop: Day Two...

For the second day of the Doreen Kassel workshop hosted by the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild, we focused on pods.  Doreen shared some of her favorite forms and how to make them. 

Here's a snapshot of some of the pods laid out for pictures after folks had a chance to make their own polymer pods.  All of the pieces turned out so different and unique.

These are the pods that I made.  Two of them have the compressed cotton cores, one has a wadded up paper towel and the other has a core of balled aluminum foil.  I carved one of my own tools and created a way to create the scale pattern.  I also experimented with tearing polymer clay to create a more organic edge.  And I made a little bud face.  I love pod and seed forms and will definitely make more.  Though I think if I do, I'll use them in more jewelry applications.  Theses guys are perfect for adding a little bit of a whimsical flair to a floral arrangement.

One of the things that I enjoyed at other workshops and retreats with other artists is trading.  I suggested the swap and some of the participants played along.  I put one of my monkey pendants in.  Anne Creed got it!  I got a pair of earrings from Selma Andrews.  While I don't wear earrings, I do have some branches set up in my studio where I hang ornaments from artist friends.  This allows me to enjoy them year-round.  I'll add these lovely pieces to the branches.

I had a really good time.  It was nice to be outside of myself and just play.  It's easy to get trapped in routine when one is locked away in their studio.  It was nice to look at art through another's eyes and experience their process.  Doreen has such a calm, low-key energy and really encouraged us to take the techniques she works with and make them our own.

Many thanks to the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild for bringing Doreen to the area and for being a friendly, creative bunch of folks!  Hopefully I'll be able to attend some of their other events!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Doreen Kassel Workshop: Day One...

The Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild hosted a fabulous workshop with sculptor and illustrator, Doreen Kassel.  I was lucky enough to grab a spot.  On Day One we focused on learning her techniques for making her Uncommon Creatures.

Here's a snapshot of Doreen demoing her sculpting techniques with polymer clay.

It was a great turn out!  What a warm and friendly group!  People came from all over the country to take the workshop!  Some of the folks who attended were long time polymer clay artists and some were completely new!  It was an interesting mix of characters!

Speaking of characters, this is the piece that I made!  Here it is before it was painted.

And here it is all painted up!  It was interesting to see how she does surface treatments.  It's a wonderful technique that has a lovely glow and gives the pieces a muted vibe.  It's definitely something that I'd like to explore further!

These were some of the creatures that the other students made!  So cool!  So diverse!  It's interesting to see just how everyone took the same concepts and came up with completely different looking pieces!

Whenever I take a workshop, I like to get a little something from the instructor.  It's a nice way for me to commemorate the experience and add to my little collection of prizes! Here's a little bunny fellow that I picked up from Doreen!  I'm smitten with it!

I'm looking forward to Day Two of workshop!  Doreen will be showing how to make her pods.  I've had a long-time fascination with pods and seeds, so this will be an excellent way to add to my repertoire.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Tribes Competition Challenge...

One of the projects that we've been working on is the Tribes Competition Challenge.  It's really just an amped up version of the Design Kit Challenges we already do... except instead of one kit launch... there are SEVEN!  It's probably the biggest undertaking we've done in regards to our challenges.

I'm really excited to see what people make and which tribes they join.  While I was putting together the kits, I was inventing little stories to go with each of the tribes.  I thought about sharing those stories in the launch, but decided not to since I thought it'd effect the designs too much.  It has planted a lovely little seed in my brain and hopefully it'l turn into something more soon!

In any event, if you'd like to find out more about the project and to learn how you can participate, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Spring Days...

I awake to the sound of birds singing and the smell of fresh, clean air blowing through the window.  The curtains dance lazily in the breeze.  I spend quiet hours tending flowers, learning about the little plot of land surrounding our new home, and observing the bunnies and squirrels. I'm befriending the creatures that coexist with us.  I've been taking time to examine my heart and the contents of my dreams.  It's a rare and somewhat unfamiliar pleasure.  While I have not been wholly exempt from contributing to our household and working on the odd project, there's a beauty in the simplicity of these spring days.  I've luxuriated in allowing myself to prepare meals that nurture the soul and not just the body.  I've given myself permission to sleep in, if the mood strikes me.  And most of all... I've let myself enjoy silence.  My voice will sometimes crack from being so unused.

For the past few years, this really hasn't been an option.  I spent most days working relentlessly and laying a foundation for a future I am now exploring.  To the outsider, it might seem as though I'm wasting away in my self-imposed hermitage, but I feel myself blossoming.  I can feel parts of me coming to life again, just like the flowers laying dormant over winter, now unfurling from sleep and reaching up leafy limbs.

I can feel the energy building and growing.  Soon, I'll return to a little more frenzied pace... but for the time being, I'm fully relishing this bright, verdant period.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Forget Me Not...

Walking along the path, I noticed small clumps of tiny pale blue flowers.  They were so small and in the riotous blooming of spring, it would be easy to pass them by.  As I stopped to examine these little forget-me-nots, it made me think.

In the riotous blooming (and decay) of humanity, I'm but just a tiny flower, easily forgotten.  Ultimately, my impact is but a small one.  These words will disappear.  The voice of the one speaking them will one day cease to exist.  Their echoes will be lost in the cacophony of shouting voices.  Their significance will diminish in the multitudes of many songs spread out over an endless succession of years.

Even though the forget-me-not might be the slightest of flowers, this does not mean it refuses to bloom.  It will do so, whether there are larger more showy flowers around or not.

I like to think that even though one day I will be forgotten, I still manage to make the best of each day.  I know that my posterity is limited, and eventually my name will hold no meaning.  Despite that, I'll keep blooming.  (As if I could stop myself from doing just that?)  And if someone happens to stop on their way and takes a brief moment for my small flowers, I hope they will see someone intent on helping others, being an advocate for what is right, dreaming big dreams, and adding a little beauty to this world.  For it is the small things, in their great and abundant diversity, gathered and held together that makes the world so grand.  Each flower, no matter how ephemeral, makes the vista that much richer and more beautiful to behold.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Coming Soon...

One of my favorite events in town is the Ligonier Art Walk.  We help put it together and I'm super proud of it.  It's a special day dedicated to the arts and creativity!  The participating art venues all have exhibitions or activities geared towards the arts.  I love seeing people walking around town and exploring all the shops and talking about their favorite pieces they've seen throughout the day.  It's a wonderful celebration of the creative spark!  For such a small community, we're fortunate to have so many places to see and experience art.

Take a look at the line-up!  It's jam-packed with talent.  All of the venues are representing different facets of art and are shining a light on different artistic voices, some local and some from abroad.  There are seven participating venues this time.

At Allegory Gallery, we're having a really cool show called, "3X3".  (You'll notice that this is a reoccurring theme.)  We're showing the work of NINE artists from across the country!  All of them will have nine pieces depicting their unique styles and vision.  Each of the pieces in the show measures approximately 3"X3" and are all affordably priced.  The idea of the show is to highlight a cross-section of some of our favorite artists that we've worked with over the years and encourage people to add pieces to their collections.  The display becomes a living work of art as pieces are purchased and removed from the wall.  We will be showing the work of Elise Wells (Ligonier, PA), Theodore Bohla (Pittsburgh, PA), Cheyanne Anderson (New Florence, PA), Cynthia Thornton (Asheville, NC), Wendy Wallin Manilow (Portland, OR), LES Polinko (Pittsburgh, PA), Shirleah Kelly (Greensburg, PA), Todd Beisel (Johnstown, PA), and Joan Tucker (Seattle, WA).  It's a really exciting group of artists and I'm sure they'll do a wonderful job in expressing their unique voices!

So mark your calendars!  The Ligonier Art Walk is scheduled for Saturday, May 28th!  To keep up to date with all of the activities, CLICK HERE to check out the Ligonier Art Walk Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Beads Baubles and Jewels...

Look what came in the mail!  This past November, I had the honor and pleasure of filming an episode of Bead Baubles and Jewels with Katie Hacker and the team at KS Productions.  Yesterday, I received an advance DVD copy of Series 2400!  It's really exciting to hold it in my hands!  Somehow it feels more real.  I grew up watching PBS and all the great how-to content.  I remember spending many a happy hour watching Julia Child in the kitchen, seeing renovations on This Old House, and learning about flowers on The Victory Garden.  It's amazing to have dipped my toe in this legacy of educational broadcasting!  I hope that they'll ask me back!

The new season starts airing April 28th on some PBS stations.  For local listings, check out their website by CLICKING HERE.  You can also now see past episodes on CreateTV.  Make sure to tune in for episode 2409 and see me demonstrating how to make your own silicone molds and work with fast-cast resins.  The 2400 Series is packed with all kinds of interesting creative jewelry-making information and the line-up features some of my favorite people from the craft community!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spiderwebs...

Summers in the City used to take on a carnival flair.  The baking concrete seemed to warm people's blood and there was a frenetic energy in the air.  Street Fairs and block parties blossomed like wildflowers and the toy phone version of the Piped Piper's song blared through speakers as the ice cream trucks made their rounds.  I remember walking around the sun-soaked streets on my rare day off and absorbing the atmosphere and trying not to trip on the curbs in my flip-flops.  Feeling slightly sticky and on the verge of being unpleasantly sweaty, I ducked into a bar to cool off.  The room with swirling overhead fans and bright yellow paint was mostly empty, save for one man and the bartender.  The girl behind the bar looked like she could have been Amy Winehouse's kid sister.  She seemed overly preoccupied with washing the same glasses over and over.  After sitting there for a few minutes with my cold beverage in hand, I could see why.  The man, sitting across the bar, was muttering to himself.  I knew what the girl was doing.  I had used the same trick in the past myself.  If you looked like you were preoccupied, it was easier not to engage difficult customers.  I tried not to eavesdrop, because if the bartender was trying to steer clear, it was probably smart not to show interest either.  But I couldn't help but overhearing a few things.  From the sounds of it, the person he was talking about was terrible.  He went through laundry lists of horrific deeds and I just assumed he had been dumped or that his significant other had cheated on him or something.  A few more people trickled in and as they did so, the man at the end of the bar got louder and louder. It was like he was feeding off their energy and used it to fuel his ranting.  One of the first things you learn when you live in New York is to raise your invisible shields and block out what you don't want to see.  None of us wanted to see this man.

Eventually his swelling diatribe made the energy so uncomfortable in the room that the newcomers started throwing their glances around the room desperately, as if they were looking for safety or some kind of solid ground.  They found me instead and we exchanged exasperated looks.  There's something about group dynamics where those who are not afflicted by the crazy seek reassurance in each other.  A silent communication of, "Can you believe this guy?" and "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" gets exchanged with a handful of expressions and a few eye movements.  The man picked up on our nonverbal interactions and broke through the wall.  Staring directly at me, he screamed, "HEY!  HAVEN'T YOU BEEN LISTENING TO ME?  I'M TRYING TO TELL YOU ABOUT MOTHER F**KING TERESA!"

At first I thought he was joking.  I mean, he was talking about someone who devoted her life to the service and care of others.  What he said was pretty nasty, but he kept talking and somewhere in his drunken fog and heat drenched madness, this all made sense to him.  Once he had our attention, his rantings took on a theatrical quality.  While he was expounding upon the supposed misdeeds of Mother Teresa, I noticed the bartender slip out of view.  I imagine she had placed a phone call to management, because not long afterwards, two VERY large men arrived and quietly escorted him out of the bar.

Even though it has been many years since that hot summer day, I still remember that man with his round, rudy face.  He was convinced that Mother Teresa was his greatest enemy and at least in that moment, it seemed completely real to him.  It didn't matter how many people she fed or clothed, she was still the baddest of the bad.

I think that in life, no matter what you do or how many people believe in you and your virtues, there will always be those that will cast you as a villain in their own personal movies.  You can devote your life to helping the needy and healing the hurt, and there will still be at least one crazy drunk guy in the crowd.  Why?  Maybe they're jealous?  Maybe they're insecure?  Maybe they are deflecting addressing their own problems and going on the offense?  Maybe they are the quintessential definition of a sociopath?  Or maybe it's like that song "32 Flavors" (sung by Ani DiFranco or Alana Davis, either version will do)... "'cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room..."?  I don't know.  And I urge you not to know either.  

The motivations that fuel the machinations of others are spiderwebs.  Rarely do they make sense.  There's no logic or reason.  If you try to get involved, you'll get stuck and eventually, if you're not careful, you'll get eaten.  It is a tangle and designed to trap you.  And it is best to focus on the positive, mind your own business, and do what you feel is right and good.  If you do your best and guide your actions with gratitude in your heart and a clear conscious, you can sidestep the sticky mess.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Bead and Craft Bloggers...

Draw a Map of your Daily Route
Look at your routine in a new way by drawing a map of your route to work or school.

Embossed Aluminum Postcard Art
Embossed aluminum postcard art is made with inexpensive aluminum foil tape stuck onto scraps of card stock.  Take a look at these four examples using different techniques.

Interested in a great creative learning opportunity this summer?
Allegory Gallery is pleased to present: Creative Camp!  This weekend intensive features workshops taught by Eva Sherman, Heather Powers, and Cynthia Thornton!

What Inspires Me When Making Jewelry
Having a hard time coming up with beading ideas?  Terry Jeanette of the Tappingflamingo gives you some ideas.

Charms!
Charms make for a great way to start jewelry designing just for the fun of it.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shows you how to finish up and "frame" a single block quilt.

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews, "Play with Chain Mail: 4 Weaves = 20+ Jewelry Designs" by Theresa D. Abelew.  Lots of fun!

Free Journey Proverb Free Pattern
Graduation season will be here before we know it!  Connie's added a super simple free chart that will be great for making up into graduation cards.  It is also suitable for a friend who is moving or making a change in life.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

BeadFest Philadelphia Spring 2016...

I shared these pictures on Facebook already, but I thought I'd post them here as well.  We attended the BeadFest Philadelphia Spring 2016. It was a fast trip!  A group of us drove across the state in the morning and drove back in the evening.  As we discovered, this is the last spring event that they're doing.  I have mixed feelings about this.  The spring show was never as big as its August counterpart (and has been steadily shrinking), but it was still a place that the tribe converged and a place to catch up with those who I don't get to see on a regular basis.  I understand the reasoning behind this decision and know that it's important to make the financials work out, but it's still a little sad.

I didn't get a chance to take as many pictures as I would have liked!  I get so caught up in talking to people and looking at things that I'm lucky I have these images.  Here are some snapshots taken during our trip:

 Eva Sherman

 Liz from Saki Silver

 Beth and Tom from Kabela Design

 Maria Richmond and Ren Farnsworth

 Dana Groves

 Adam from PJ Tool and ImpressArt

 Marsha from Marsha Neal Studio

 Jenny Davies-Reazor

 Kris Schaible and Maureen Henriques

Terri Powell