Friday, November 29, 2013

Artists for Disaster Relief Silent Auction Blog Hop...

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, a group of artists got together and decided to help raise moneys for the relief effort.  One of the ways to achieve the fundraising goal was to host a blog hop, featuring silent auctions for artisan-made items.

This is the piece that I made to help out.  It is made of saucer-cut labradorites, labradorite rounds, micro-faceted iolite, rubies, African brass, vermeil, and a bronze bird toggle from my family at Green GIrl Studios.  It is approximately 28" inches long and can be worn as a necklace (that can look different depending on where the decorative clasp lays) or (depending on the wrist size) a wrap bracelet.  It has a retail value of $125.
For this auction, the bidding will start at $1!  There is no minimum reserve and there are no bidding increments.  The highest bidder in the comments is the winner!  As a thank you, we will ship the piece to the winner free of charge (to US participants).  This auction is open to international participants.  This auction will run from today (November 29th) to December 5th.  Please make sure to include your name and an email address with your bid.  The winner will be announced December 6th.  When the winner is announced, we will send a Paypal invoice for the total.  Please make sure to pay promptly.  The main charity that the funds we raise will go to CARE.  To find out more about what they're doing to help, CLICK HERE.

Although our auctions are organized in a blog hop, please make sure to read each artist's instructions carefully as they may vary.  Auctions will be posted throughout the day.  We thought this would be a fun and creative way to raise money and hope you enjoy visiting the participating blogs.  This is a wonderful way to get holiday gifts and help with the relief effort!  Even if you aren't bidding, please consider hopping and showing your support for the amazing work and the kind generosity of the participants!  Leave comments!  Show love!  Show support!  Each of the talented artists are AWESOME!

Here's a list of participating artists:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks...

Each day, I try to do two things: Find something to be grateful for and do a good deed.  Some days are more challenging than others, but more often than not, opportunities to fulfill both daily goals present themselves readily.  The side effect is that the more you operate from a place of goodwill, the more you go out of your way to do good works and express gratitude for the positive things in life.  It's a snowball effect and I figure that over the course of one's life, even small acts of kindness add up.  A mosaic is made of tiny tiles.  Alone a tile might be insignificant, but collectively, it can create a thing of beauty.  I am by no means perfect and I freely admit that sometimes I let myself get carried away by less than altruistic dispositions and I can take for granted the many blessings that my life has been bestowed.  But... I try and I feel like that act of working towards making the world a better place is better than not at all.

One of the reasons that I love Thanksgiving is that people are more willing to embrace the spirit of gratitude and vocalize it.  People celebrate the good and there is so much good in this world.  It's easy to see only the bad.  It's easy to fall into darkness.  It's easy to get angry and lash out in frustration... but all around us are tiny miracles and the possibility of great things.

So... thank you!  Thank you so much!  It might seem like a cop out, but I am deeply thankful for this life and all that is in it.  (Even the bad stuff.)  Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Black Friday Sale...

When we were talking about what we wanted to do for the holiday shopping season, we really didn't have anything special planned for Black Friday besides staying open late for Light Up Night.  But the more I was thinking about it, the more I wanted to reward our customers for shopping locally and supporting small business.  All of the Big Box stores are having sales... why shouldn't we?  So, this one day sale was born!

The savings are pretty substantial!  50% off of all gemstone strands!  The sale is for Friday, November 29th from 10AM to 8PM and is valid on in-store purchases only.  I can't combine it with any other discounts.  The sale is also not retroactive!  Sorry!

I hope that you'll come by and pick up a few things.  There are a lot of really beautiful gemstone strands and I would love to see them go to good homes.  I also hope that we sell a bunch of strands and make room for new inventory that's coming in.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Super Duo Snowflakes...

I made these snowflakes awhile ago for the Fusion Beads 30 Day Challenge.  (Unfortunately, life got in the way and I had to reluctantly throw in the towel and give-up halfway through.)  I didn't get a chance to post them, so I thought I would take the opportunity to do so.

Working with Super Duos was a new thing for me.  I didn't really know what I was doing, so I took the thread and needle for a walk and let them guide the way.  To my surprise, three snowflake designs emerged from the clear and frosted Super Duos.  I added little beaded bails and the results are little holiday ornaments.  If I made pairs, they could be earrings.  Linked together, they could make a really wintry bracelet.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  I will definitely revisit them when I have a little more time!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Club Reminder...

For those interested, the November selection of the Inspired by Reading Book Club is, "Bridge of Birds" by Barry Hughart.  Due to the holiday, we've pushed the in-person meet-up and blog hop back a week.  This means that the in-person meet-up takes place on Tuesday, December 3rd from 6PM to 9PM.  The blog hop will be all-day on Wednesday, December 4th.  If you're not familiar with our book club, we read a book and then create something that was inspired by what we read.  Hope you can play along!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Do you get obsessed?  Stop by A Bead A Day, where you will find a kindred spirit sharing her latest bead obsession.

Resin Crafts Blog
If you ever wondered about how to make a unique cabochon for jewelry designs, this new EasyCast video should be a big help!

Art Bead Scene
Check out how Kylie Parry – a ceramist, art bead artist, and jeweler – updates and personalizes her holiday packaging!

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean enjoys some special jewelry creativity with the help of the season's first snow, some friends, and a camera!

Beading Arts
Vintage hinges make a wicked cute bracelet!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Andrew was moved help with the relief efforts!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sheila Thornton for Artists for Disaster Relief...

As many of you know, we're currently in the fundraising process to help generate money for the victims of the natural disaster in the Philippines.  There is still much work to be done in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  My sister, Sheila Thornton, just sent out a newsletter detailing her plans to contribute to the relief effort.  CLICK HERE to take a look!  Not only can you help out, but you can save some money on her original works of art!

Corona Cuff Class with Georgette Austin...

The talented Georgette Austin is returning to Ligonier!  She will be teaching her, "Corona Cuff Class".  It's a perfect introduction to working with wire and produces a lovely bracelet!  The class will be held on December 1st at the Annex, from 1PM to 4PM.  The class fee is $40 plus materials.  To find out more about the class and to sign up online, CLICK HERE.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Junker Jane at Allegory Gallery...

I met Catherine Zacchino a.k.a. "Junker Jane" at the last ArtFest retreat in Port Townsend.  My sister and I had lucked out and shared an officer's house with Catherine and her husband.  We all stayed up late into the evening chatting and talking about our creative endeavors.  It was so much fun!

I had recognized "Junker Jane" from the Stampington magazines and I knew that I wanted to bring her work to Ligonier.  I thought that her work was whimsical and creepy and perfect for Allegory Gallery!  Above is a sneak peek at the new show, "Monster Sweets".  This is the first time that Junker Jane has shown with us.

The opening reception is Saturday, December 7th from 5PM to 8PM!  Stop by and see this amazing work!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

iCreateFlix with Lynne Suprock...

One of my friends and artistic collaborators has recently filmed a how-to workshop for iCreateFlix!  The delightful Lynne Suprock will show you how one can turn an ordinary shotgun shell into a stylish ring! CLICK HERE to find out more out her online class!  (If you act fast, they have an early registration price!  You can save $5 off the regular class fee.)  Don't forget to CLICK HERE to check out Lynne's blog and take a look at all her beautiful work!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Snow...

I am always amazed by the first snow of the season.  The memories of sun-warmed days are still fresh.  The chilly wonderland is still novel and sparkling with newness.  The first snow is before months of gray skies, wet socks and frozen fingers.

The first snow transforms the landscape and there's something almost festive about it... kind of like familiar friends getting decked out and dressed up in fancy finery.  The same trees one passes every day sway waifishly and are frostily dusted and cooly trimmed.  They glitter in the early morning light.

With your breath swirling from your lips with each breath and your cheeks reddening with warmth against the cold, there's a bristling crispness.  And there's a feeling... maybe true... maybe false... that anything is possible.  The world is fresh.  The world is new.

I am the archer.  I am the bow.  The arrow is my intention.  Sheathed and at rest, it does no good.  Let loose to fly, it may strike its mark or miss, but I will never know unless I try.  I feel as though we all have a quiver of arrows and are full of potential.  Will we always succeed at our endeavors?  I can't say.  Will the things we do matter?  Can we make an impact?  There's no guarantee.  But on a snowy morning, when the world is fresh and new again, anything is possible.  We just have to try.

Artists for Disaster Relief Raffle Prizes...

I will be updating this post with new additions to the prizes for the raffle.  For more information about the raffle and to purchase tickets online, CLICK HERE.

Artists for Disaster Relief Raffle...

One of the ways that we are raising money is doing a raffle with all proceeds going to the disaster relief effort.  The winners of the raffle will receive a selection of art, beads, and jewelry (among other things).  One winner will be randomly selected for each prize package on December 5th.  Prize packages will be randomly assigned to winners.

Prize Contributors Include:
Andrew Thornton
Sheila Thornton
Lisa Lodge
Lisa Boucher
Barb Cherwaty
Maria Richmond
Erin Prais-Hintz
Terri Greenawalt
Connie Parsons
Jan Durkin
Joan Tucker
Lana Weed
Gretchen Schueller
Rita Romito-Digiacomo
... and more!

For pictures of some of the prizes, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in contributing something to the raffle prize, contact me with a picture of your donation and its retail value.

The tickets are only $1 per ticket!  Each ticket will entitle the entrant to one chance at winning.  Ticket purchasers must be at least 18 years of age or have parental consent and not be an employee of Allegory Gallery.  The winner will be drawn at random by an individual appointed by Allegory Gallery responsible for maintaining security and control of all raffle ticket stubs.  This individual will certify that all numbered ticket stubs that have been rightfully purchased have been placed in the container from which the winning tickets will be drawn.

Purchase of the raffle tickets is not a tax-deductible contribution, but will be included in total (as collected) as a charitable donation.  Tickets may be purchased with cash, check or credit card in-person or online.  Follow the link for tickets:

Allegory Gallery will not offer refunds or exchanges for tickets that were purchased.

The winners need not be present at the time and place of drawing to win and will be notified upon winning.

The raffle is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.  Allegory Gallery will report and submit Federal and PA withholding tax on any amount over $5,000.

Raffle tickets will be sold from November 14th to December 5th, until the drawing is held on December 5th.

Silent Auction Blog Hop Information...

One of the ways to help is to participate in the blog hop of silent auctions.  Each of us will be raising money to help with the disaster relief efforts.

Here are the details of what to do to participate:

If you would like to participate, please email me ( with your email address, blog address, and the name that you would like to use.  I will compile a list and send it out November 27th for you to use in your blog post.  I will also send you a banner image.

Your blog post should include:
A picture of the piece that you are auctioning off, if there is a minimum reserve, if there are increments of bids, how shipping will be conducted (some participants are donating shipping fees, while others are charging shipping), whether or not your auction is open to international participants, how long the auction will run (November 29th to December 5th), when the auction winner will be announced, how money will be received (we find Paypal invoices extremely useful), the list of participants with links, and where the money is going.  We have selected CARE as our main charity.  For more information of what they are doing, CLICK HERE.

Each artist participating in the blog hop will be responsible for collecting funds, shipping out their items, and for donating the money to the cause.  This is nice, because as an individual contributor, you can receive a tax deductible receipt!  Alternatively, you can ask that your winning participant donate the money and they can receive the write-off.

If you get a chance, please announce your participation on your blog, Facebook page or other social media outlets to help bring awareness to what we're doing and how we're trying to help!

And remember... this is supposed to be a fun, easy way for artists who might not otherwise be able to contribute to the disaster relief efforts to help out.  Please don't stress out and please try to enjoy this act of giving.  If you have any questions, please let me know!

Here's a current list of participants:
Andrew Thornton
Cynthia Thornton
Sheila Thornton
Erin Prais-Hintz
Michelle Ann McCarthy
Diane Hawkey
Lynne Suprock
Eva Gibson
Diana Ptaszynski
Lori Dixon Greenberg
Sarajo Wentling
Mary K McGraw

The Message...

The other day, I was complaining to a friend about the hectic holiday season and how I had a headache from all the things I was doing.  That's when a message came through, "Our village is destroyed".

Half a world away, Typhoon Haiyan wrecked havoc in my mother's country.  A moment before I had been complaining about my trivial problems, but I still had a roof over my head, electricity, fresh water to drink, food to eat, a toilet to use.... but someone I am related to didn't.  They were evacuated from the only home they knew, that was now washed away.

Everything blurred.  It made me feel very small.  It made me feel powerless.  But it also made me feel fortunate for all the blessings in my life and I realized that there IS something that I could do.

We're not rich and what little money we do make goes directly back into the store.  But I have my hands and I have my imagination and I belong to a beautiful community of other creative individuals and appreciators of art.  So a list came to mind.  At first it was just a few scribbles and had bullet items like, "REBUILD".  But right now, rebuilding ranks low on the list when there's no clean water or food to eat.  So, after a few hours of online research and talking with my sister and my partner, an action plan formed.

William and I plan to:

* Donate a percentage of sales to a charity.  We will do this from November 14th to December 5th.

* Host a blog hop of silent auctions to raise funds.  This will help cross promote and allow other artists who want to contribute to help out.  The auctions will run from November 29th to December 5th.

*  Sell items in the store made from materials from the Philippines to raise money for a charitable donation.  Materials will be purchased from Filipino-owned companies.  The items will be sold on Project Wall 2 for the month of December.

* Have a Destash Sale with all of the proceeds going towards disaster relief.  The Destash Event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20th at 8PM EST.  The Facebook group where I conduct the events is closed, but if you're interested in participating, just request to be added to the group.  CLICK HERE to go to the group page.

* Have a raffle with tickets available both online and in-person.  All money raised from ticket sales will go towards a charitable contribution.  CLICK HERE to find out more about the raffle and to purchase $1 tickets.

The money that we raise will go to CARE's typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief efforts.  CLICK HERE to find out more about what they are doing and to donate.  We will also make a charitable contribution to the Association of Bantayanons in America headed by fellow bead-maker and artisan, Precy Mansueto Marban.

I also came up with a list of things that others can do to help:

*  Host an auction on their blog.

* Donate an item to the raffle.

* Buy raffle tickets.

* Promote our fundraising efforts.

More information on how to help and the details of this plan of action will be forthcoming.

Monday, November 04, 2013


I'm not a morning person.  I have always felt more alive at night.  Growing up, this provided to be slightly problematic, but somehow I managed to make it to a point where I am mostly in charge of my own schedule and can avoid early mornings.

It just so happened that Lynne Suprock was going to be in town and there was an opportunity for us to play!  The catch was that it had to be at 7:30 AM on Sunday morning.  The normal Sunday morning ritual includes sleeping in with the cats, "waking up", turning on some good music, making strong coffee and if time permits, cooking up a scrumptious breakfast.  On nice Sundays, this meal is enjoyed on the deck wearing pajamas.  It's a rare jewel in the week and for most people, I would not give it up.

But I have been dying to sit down with Lynne and make stuff.  She's a kindred spirit and we just clicked.  We can endlessly rattle off ideas and have planned to co-teach in the future.  So, even though it was much earlier than I like to be up, I woke up extra early and met up with Lynne!  (Luckily with the time change, I was actually early!)

We had a delightful time and I am very excited about future workshops together.  We worked on some art dolls that will have a reliquary cavity filled with a miniature book.

It was a lot of fun and made me wish that she lived closer!  We would be constantly crafting!  Maybe one day the siren's call of Ligonier will be strong enough and she'll decide to permanently relocate to our quaint town.

Still Life...

On the corner of the kitchen counter, I deposit my keys, my phone, my wallet.  I empty my pockets of loose change, mechanical pencils, and rubber wine corks.  I take off my jewelry, my rings and my bracelet.  Receipts, to-do lists, bubble-wrap, and plastic baggies accumulate in this place.  If you look at the contents, strewn across the laminate surface, you can read the story of my life, like tea leaves or star charts.  It seems just like clutter.  It seems like just a mess. But the things, the assortment of objects, tell a story.

I would like to think that they tell a story of someone who works hard and always tries his best.  It tells a tale of a person who goes into each day, believing that what he does is done for some greater purpose - one he doesn't understand.  The bracelet he wears does not hide its message, but is stamped out in clear letters.  "Be the change you wish to see in the world."  The band he wears in silver upon his hand is of an endless knot, intertwined lines.  The shape is bent, the details are worn and shiny from daily wear.  It communicates a message of enduring friendship that weathers even the hardest of days.  The green glass, filled with wine says that some things are meant to be cherished and celebrated, and other things are meant to be forgotten.  A quarter, a nickel, a dime and three pennies are a wish for success and prosperity, built on ambition and frugality.  Every penny counts!  The phone several years old, pristine beneath a battered case, conveys a mixed message.  It paints a picture of a slow swimmer in a fast river.  Two beads of little robots whisper words of whimsy and a love of family.  An acorn cap, found on the sidewalk shows an appreciation for the beauty of nature.  A newly minted key shows signs of trust of new beginnings.  A bottle cap, a piece of tin foil, a scratched CD, and used wine corks implies that there is value in all things and that with a little bit of elbow grease and imagination, "trash" can be turned into treasure.  The "clutter" reveals creativity and a willingness to search to find, a belief in spontaneity and an acknowledgement that life is not perfect.  Life is full of surprises.  The things form a still-life of a life not so still.