Thursday, April 28, 2011


I woke up this morning thinking that today would be blissfully dull and that I could leisurely pick my way through the chores that have piled up in my absence. Perhaps hug a cat or two. Surprisingly the day was very full and busier than I had original anticipated and now I'm left looking around wondering where it all went. Many of my tasks were indeed quite dull, but it's one of those things where since they had to be done today, they took on a new and unpleasant fervor.

Unfortunately I missed out on participating in the International Charm Day. I had all these covert intentions of creating charms and leaving them in public places to be found by unsuspecting peoples passing by. Alas. Next year then... I have 365 days to plan.

I did manage to create some lovely things, that I will happily share within the next few days. I am too tired to do it tonight. Tomorrow I'll post more Bezel Pendants (that need a snappier name) and mark the ones down currently in the Shop. It'll be a grand SALE celebrating – or rather mourning – being blindsided by some bills that need rapid paying. Slippery days are my least favorite, because they start off all innocuous and then turn out to be much more... well... slippery.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lark Jewelry & Beading Book Giveaway...

The fine folks at Lark Jewelry & Beading are hosting a HUGE giveaway! Up for grabs is a bundle of 14 of their most popular titles! To win is easy! All you have to do is leave a comment on their post about social media. To find out more and how you can enter to win CLICK HERE!

Amy Wilson Kickstarter...

Friend and fellow artist, Amy Wilson, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a free project in conjunction with her forthcoming show at BravinLee Programs. It centers around engaging audiences through stamp collection. CLICK HERE to find out more and please consider becoming a backer!

All In A Day...

Yesterday I was treated to an ever-shifting panorama of beauty. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to be surrounded by so much nature and so many amazing views. Living on the ridge provides a richly rewarding look at the valley below.

April showers came through all day. Sometimes the sky took on an El Greco appearance with sweeping dark clouds and piercing shafts of light.

A ribbon of mist and steam snakes around the course of the snowmelt-swollen creeks in the valley after a rain.

Trees fresh with tender new leaves sparkle, as if bejeweled, as the last drops of rain clinging to the branches are lit up by the fading sun. The horizon becomes a sea of swimming pomegranate and peach, a bleeding of strawberries and lavender.

That same mist, curling smoky whites and grays, from earlier in the day becomes a shimmer of burnt oranges and lilac. They seem lit from within, ghostly masses of color drifting over the lawn, merging into the darkening folds of the woods beyond.

This is where I live. This is my home. At times it seems like everything is stillness and quiet, and at others, one is reminded just how much a place can change and how many guises can be worn all in a day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care...

Explosions in the Sky released their sixth studio album today! It's called, "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care". If you're not familiar with them, they're a instrumental rock band from Texas known for the emotional and narrative quality of their music. CLICK HERE to check out their new album.

The Road Home...

The road home, of course, begins with chocolate. Unfortunately Jenny was unable to join us the previous night at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge with Ms. Cherie. So we made a pitstop on our way to Pennsylvania. It would have been easy to sit there all day with the liquid truffles, chatting and catching up over ceramic mugs of molten chocolate... but we had to get on the road.

I didn't get a chance to see our friend Meg Carswell Reilley this trip, but was nice to feel her presence with her photographs gracing some of the walls.

Above are the mugs (handcrafted by local potter) filled with the mouthwateringly delicious, ganache-based beverages. Mine was the maple flavor, which consists of a blend of milk and dark chocolate, maple syrup, butter and a sprinkling of smoked salt. Jenny's was the Indian kulfi. It's a mix of milk chocolate, kulfi, rose, pistachio, and cardamon.

After having lived in New York for many years, I have become a little desensitized to graffiti. It's everywhere! And it seems like there's always some young artist dying to be heard and trying to be the next Jean-Michel Basquiat, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, or Barry McGee. But every now and then, I come across a piece of street art that stops me in my tracks. Layered on top of the cover-up of other graffiti, the paper bird composed of flowing lines looked all the more tragic and as a result... all the more beautiful.

We wound our way northward, through the mountains of West Virginia. The day seemed perfect. We made a short stop at the New River Gorge Bridge lookout. It's a steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia, which you might recall its likeness appearing on the commemorative West Virginia quarter.

As the roads became more twisted and the drops steeper, our perfect day quickly turned into dark clouds raining heavily and pelting the car with hailstones. It got so bad that we had to pull over. High winds had knocked signs over that blended in with the dark sparkle of rain-slicked roads, making us nervous as we went over them, fearing that the tires would blow out. It was a tense time, but we triumphed... coming in only three hours after our original expected arrival time.

We ended the long day with a glass of wine and the Ten Commandments.

We celebrated Easter together. It wasn't the first time that we celebrated this spring-time holiday together. Back in New York, Jenny and her partner used to host an annual Spring Feast. Isn't it odd how we always manage to see the same people at the same time of year?

This was her first trip out here and we took her to see Buttermilk Falls. It's just a short drive away and a good starting point for any trip.

Sprinkled along the trail were trillium erectum blossoms. Some call this dark red, almost purplish bloom, "Stinking Benjamin". Apparently it has a pungent odor akin to rotting meat that attracts flies for pollination. (I didn't notice anything, but perhaps it's a smell detected by insects.) An odd fact about trilliums is that they are spread by ants. Their fertilized ovums are carried and transplanted by the tiny bugs. Isn't it fascinating how interlaced this flower is to its surroundings and the creatures within it?

Near the falls is a "barren" patch for the electric lines. Above is a picture of Jenny there. In truth, it's covered with a carpet of golden grasses, spongy mosses and star-shaped lichen.

It seemed that where ever we went, there was always carvings in the trees. Whether we were off the roads of West Virginia, walking down the streets of Asheville, or picking our way along the paths of Pennsylvania... there they were. Although I don't like the idea of cutting up trees, there's something to be said for wanting to be remembered – to want to freeze a moment or make a love last. Maybe there's something primal, a need to leave behind a marker or evidence of having lived and loved?

Jenny had expressed an interest in the Johnstown floods. She had read about them as a girl and was curious to see where they had actually taken place. So we went to Johnstown to ride the Inclined Plane. It's the world's steepest vehicular incline and one of the best views in town. Almost the entire city can be seen from the observation decks.

We mostly saw flowers and wide expanses of country on her visit. Mostly everything was closed for the holiday. We did a tour of Blairsville and Ligonier. Both were mostly empty.

It was good to see my friend and show her around where I live. It was good to reconnect, after time apart and share a little bit of my home.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Word: Home...

This week's word is "home". Create a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or take a picture that, in your opinion, best captures the meaning of the word. Think about the word and its different interpretations and how it makes you feel. Translate it into whatever medium you'd like and then post about it on your blog. Once you've uploaded your blog post, copy and paste the URL into a new comment on this post. Be sure to check out what others are making, inspired by the weekly word. Don't delay; you have a week until the new word is posted.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beaded Links...

The Bead Dreamer
A lovely tree branch, soft pink flowers and wisps of silk inspired two necklace designs.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
This weeks blog features the poppies of Paris and the jewelery it inspires.

Beading Arts
As part of the Artbead challenge, “What’s Old is New Again”, Cyndi has constructed a flapper-style necklace from some very cool components!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Rio Grande is encouraging a wonderful way of helping the people of Japan and it is SO EASY! Read about it on Jean’s blog!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
We all scream for Ice Cream! Melanie shows how she designed and made a new line of sweet pendants.

Art Bead Scene
Here’s a fresh idea for spring – a garden gate clasp.

A Bead A Day
Do you like glitter AND jewelry making?! You are going to love this project that Lisa found over at!

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy’s made some new blush pink drops, come see what she’s done with them!

Barbe Saint John
Barbe’s giving away the latest Industrial Chic booklet and some charms!

Strands of Beads
Melissa is brooding about issues of originality this week. Jewelry Making
What are your plans for your siver scraps now that silver is crazy expensive?

Resin Crafts!
This week Carmi has a short tutorial on using resin as a glaze.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew takes a peak at Anne Choi’s new BRONZE beads!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Here I am, taking a break from packing clothes and charging batteries, before I head back home to Bolivar. I had a most excellent time here with my family. I'm excited for many things. Cynthia is carving stamps for metal coin pendants that will be exclusively sold in my shop, I did more field research for the Capturing the Moment workshop that will take place in October, and the fledgling "Third Millennium Light Brigade" was born. I did many things and got a lot done. Most importantly, I was able to spend time with my family. I haven't had much of an opportunity to do so recently. It's one of those things where you know something is missing, but you can't quite figure it out until after you've been away too long. I talked about replenishing energies, by visiting the sea, the mountains and the desert, but spending time with family and friends is another way to nurture the heart.

So, I'm heading back in just a little bit. I'm sad to leave, as I always am, but am excited for the many new things in the works. I'm looking forward to the road trip back with one of my good friends. It'll be nice to see her again and show her around my new home.

Now it's time to finish packing my things, so that I can hug those babies as much as possible before I go.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Edwards Hayslett Fine Art...

The delightful Kathy Edwards Hayslett has just started a new blog. I love her story of turning a natural disaster into a prompt to make jewelry. Definitely check it out and see all her lovely designs. CLICK HERE to visit her blog.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Petals and Clouds...

After picking up Azalea from school, we headed over to the North Carolina Arboretum. It has been years since I've been and it is quite nice now. I remember it being very different. Every once and awhile, I'll see that Kathy Van Kleeck has stopped by the arboretum and after this trip I can see why she frequents this place. It's absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth going to.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quiet Comfort...

One of the things that we talked about was "gained perspective" during our lunch with Kathy. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Mainly how much my life has changed and continues to change. I used to take delight in debates and being in the middle of loud conversations. City-living suited me well. I could always find someone to engage in a bombastic exchange. It was easy to find someone to disagree with. But now... not so much. I find comfort in the quiet and in observation. Sure, I love to laugh and converse and mutually share opinions, but I have lost the need to compel people to understand me or to believe what I believe. I take more pleasure in savoring the moment and enjoying what is there. I've come to understand just how fortunate I am. I am blessed beyond what words can express. For me, my goal is to bask in this richness instead of letting it slip by.

Kathy wrote a blog post called, "Call to Arms". I encourage everyone to read it. I will be actively thinking of ways that I can help proliferate this mindset and spread positive energy. CLICK HERE to visit her blog post.

Chat and Chew...

The delightful Kathy Van Kleeck came over for lunch today! It was great to see her. I really enjoy spending time with her. We always have so much fun talking about artists and designers we've recently discovered, what artistic endeavor we're up to at the moment, and sharing tips and tricks for various techniques.

Above is a shot of Kathy. I really love her work. She actually made one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. You'll see me wearing it from time to time. To check out her selection of pieces, CLICK HERE to visit her Etsy shop.

For lunch, Cynthia and I made Weasel's Sweet Potato and Kale soup. It's sort of Asian with the curry powder, coconut milk, fresh lime and cilantro. I had my doubts about it when I first heard about it. Whenever someone claims something is "healthy" I instantly think of that vegan restaurant in Brooklyn with the buckwheat pancakes akin to discs of cardboard. They were supposed to be "healthy" as well. The soup we made WAS indeed good though and perfect for the overcast day.

I also whipped up an apple tart with some puff pastry and apple slices. I glazed in with the blood orange marmalade Cynthia made not too long ago. It was also tasty. Greg also stopped by Filo for some pastries, which was a beautiful addition to our meal.

Check out this great little present Kathy gave me. Cynthia got one too. It's a sweet little Talisman bowl Kathy created from earthenware clay that rings when lightly napped. She added subtle color with mason stains. Mine was yellow. And I love it.

I always feel so inspired after her visits and can't wait to get to work on some new things.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bronze Beads By Anne Choi...

Did you know that Anne Choi has started to produce some of her beads in bronze? My heart swells with desire for them. I love the rich, warm color of the bronze. I'm a smitten kitten for sure! She has also added a NEW roof tile design to her catalogue that is just great! CLICK HERE to see the full selection of her beads and CLICK HERE to sign up for her emailed announcements for the latest news!

Flowers and Finds...

One of my favorite places in Asheville is the Botanical Gardens. It's actually one of the first places that I went to when I was first introduced to the city. Cynthia and Greg got married there, aptly dressed in faerie finery. Yesterday we stopped by for a short walk. (I loaded up on the Claritin, as I'm allergic to something in the air here and there are tons of flowers in bloom.)

Some of the things that I particularly love about the Botanical Gardens in Asheville are the many bridges, overlooks and creeks that zigzag across the property. I always find that bodies of water to be powerfully magical places. The in-between places where earth and water meet are profound – a mixing of the elements.

As I mentioned, there were tons of flowers in bloom. Spring is probably tied with autumn as my most loved season. The Botanical Gardens were carpeted with foam flowers, bleeding hearts, and dogwood blossoms.

Above is a picture of Max and Cynthia looking at the pebble-strewn creek. I spent some of our time there combing the banks for interesting artifacts. Bits of glass and pottery can be found here, tumbled slightly from the rolling waters.

Here are the treasures I plucked from the creek. Max helped me find them. I was delighted in the different types of glass and bottles. I even found some old milk glass, glowing with a faint peachy luminesce. I also found bits of mica, still partially trapped in rock and stones that sparkled with flecks of fool's gold. I might set some of these river treasures in jewelry, or more likely put them in a box to await the perfect project.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Word: Mesmerize...

This week's word is "mesmerize". Create a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or take a picture that, in your opinion, best captures the meaning of the word. Think about the word and its different interpretations and how it makes you feel. Translate it into whatever medium you'd like and then post about it on your blog. Once you've uploaded your blog post, copy and paste the URL into a new comment on this post. Be sure to check out what others are making, inspired by the weekly word. Don't delay; you have a week until the new word is posted.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Are you a crafter AND a beader? Do you ever give in to mixing craft supplies into jewelry pieces? Stop by A Bead A Day to see Lisa’s latest arts and crafts jewelry. Jewelry Making
Pets and children are wonderful, but they can make jewelry making very challenging!

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene shows off this month’s challenge. Come take a look!

Beading Arts
The final chapter of Cyndi’s e-book is now available! “Fibers, Fabrics, and Beads” challenges you to integrate all the fiber arts that you already love with your bead embroidery!

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares one of her free projects.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie introduces a new egg themed design and wonders what the Earthenwood Design Team will hatch up in jewelry designs.

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean is still taking part in the April A to Z blogging challenge: “L” is for “L”isa Niven Kelly, and her “L”ovley book Jean loved and previously reviewed.

Strands of Beads
Melissa is back and is wondering if anyone else has trouble using materials that are “too special” in their projects?

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew debuts his new filigree bezels filled with vintage stamps coated in resin. Check them out!

The Bead Dreamer
A vintage belt buckle takes center stage in a bold necklace designed by Charlene.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Swamp and Sand...

Yesterday we went to Snook Haven to go canoeing. Admittedly, I haven't been canoeing since I lived in Florida about a decade ago. It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago, but it was and evidence of my inexperience could be seen in the less than smooth progression of the canoe. Oh well, it was fun.

Snook Haven is the home of some of the Tarzan movies, killer turtles, and moonshine smugglers during Prohibition. The water looked like root beer and sweet tea, shimmering all velvety like andalusites. Along the banks grew live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, scrub pines, and Sabal palms. Blackberries also lined the banks and more than one hand was sticky and stained by the end of the trip. Surprisingly it was very quiet and hardly any birds or creatures stirred. Cynthia and Steve did say that they saw an undulating, black, finned creature roiling in the waters.

After our canoe trip in the Myakka River, we stopped for lunch at the Snook Haven restaurant. The menu was filled with "Old Florida" favorites like gator bites and corn fritters with a gooey corn pudding filling. We got several plates to share family-style.

Our adventures did not end there. We headed to Siesta Key Beach near Sarasota. It was truly beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen such fine, powdery white sand. It was soft and sparkly. The water was also warm like bath-water and supremely clear. One could easily see the ocean floor and a sandbar provided a nice place for the kids to play.

We got there just before sunset. It was cool and the direct rays of the sun had already faded. The shadows on the sand took on a pale purple and neon blue shade.

Azalea didn't pack her bathing suit, but she still had fun splashing around. We all had fun.

The waves were much more gentle and Max climbed in. The water was warm and he enjoyed playing around, splashing the water.

It was one of those places that I knew I'd eventually return. Have you ever been some place that you knew deep down in your bones that you'd go back to? One day I'll be back to the cool white sands and the crystal clear waters.

I enjoyed looking at the powdery sand, finding prints. The seagull prints I think were my favorites. I liked how the webbing of their toes left marks, almost like cuneiform or hieroglyphs.

The sunset painted the sky and concluded another perfect day at the beach.