Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dinner in Asheville...

We treated ourselves to a dinner at Corner Kitchen in the Biltmore Village area and what a dinner it was!  The food was fresh, flavorful, and absolutely delicious.  It hit the spot!  The Corner Kitchen is such a cute restaurant filled with art, an open kitchen, and an adorable patio.  The service was friendly and fast and they put out Crayola crayons on the table.

Above are the lobster tacos, the roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and green beans, and a vanilla bread pudding with caramel sauce.  Simply put, the meal was fantastic and I highly recommend The Corner Kitchen.

Summer Day...

Oh, I am in love with the summers here in Asheville.  Being back in Florida reminded me that I'm not really a hot weather person.  (As a matter of fact, I'm not a cold person either.)  The temperature here is in the 70's, the birds are singing, and the flowers are still blooming.  In the yard there are hostas, lilies, borage, and Queen Anne's Lace.  The light filters in through the leaves and there a thousand shades of green.  I like sitting out on the porch and letting the cool light dance across my face, listening to the sounds of wind-chimes and Azalea laughing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Long Way Back...

We got up bright and early and packed up the van.  Saying goodbye to the place I grew up is such a strange feeling.  Part of me feels completely estranged from the ever-changing landscape.  The other part of me is nostalgic and runs through my sun-drenched memories.  I'll miss my parents, but at the same time I've grown to enjoy my independence.  It's such a complicated thing.

Being that Cynthia's pregnant, she has to use the restroom a lot.  Thusly we pulled off  and rediscovered a cute little spiritualists' community near Deland called, Cassadaga.  This small Florida town is made up of psychics, fortune tellers, mediums and New Age specialists.  You can get your palm read, your aura photographed, and your past lives regressed all in one place.  Whether one is a believer or not, one would be hard pressed to argue with the serenity and peacefulness of the place.

At the same exit one would take to visit Jekyll Island in Brunswick, Georgia, there's a great barbeque place called The Georgia Pig.  It's rustic and the hammer on the front porch is ominous, but the pulled pork sandwich was one of the best I've had.  So tasty!

As we drew closer to the homestead, the sun was setting and the fireflies were out en force.  The cool breeze whistled through the opened window and the smell of clover and freshly cut grass wafted in.  The stars were out and so too was the sliver moon.  It was good to be back in the misty mountains.  Stepping through the front door, the long way back didn't seem so long.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farewell, Orlando...

It has been really great being back in Orlando. I had a wonderful time at the show. It is always nice to see familiar faces and meet new people. A lot of folks I know who do the shows say that they get burnt out on them and that it's hard tiring work. I can see what they mean about it being hard and tiring, but the shows are such a fantastic opportunity to create community, get inspired and to connect with others. Not to mention the other vendors who do the shows become a traveling family.

While I was here in Orlando at the Maitland Civic Center for the show, my friend Stephanie Sweet stopped in to visit and do a little shopping. It was definitely good to see her and catch up. Stephanie is a talented jewelry designer who thinks outside of the box and creates really funky and fun creations. She's also an illustrator and artist and is working on a darling book about a monster. Check out her website!

It was also really nice to see a familiar face, Cathy Dailey. I always look forward to seeing her when we're in town. Cathy makes really beautiful work and has a very handy online shop that carries almost the entire line of Green Girl Studios pieces. I had an awesome time catching up with her and chatting.

Seeing old friends and using beading as an excuse is a perk of doing the shows.

Beaded Links...

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie mixes up gunmetal chains and components with brass to make a necklace with one of her Toolbox Treasure pendants

Heather sketches out some new designs using this summer's hottest color.

Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka!
Beading in the fresh air clears the mind, bringing fresh creativity

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Searching for some new inspiration? Lorelei's got just the place for you to find it!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Wirework, a new book by the famous Dale "Cougar" Armstrong.

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her new lunar phases and compass rose designs.

A Bead A Day
Lisa shares her selection of summery pink beads and crystals. The "Watermelon Crawl" bead mix is sure to conjure up visions of a family picnic on a warm summer day!

Art Bead Scene
The Trendy Bead shows off wood filigree pendants are a perfect jewelry touch.

Barbe Saint John
Read Barbe's interview on the Objects and Elements blog.

Beading Arts
Cyndi's initial thoughts on working with the new CopprClay. There'll be lots of projects coming this summer!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi hand felts a pretty bead from wool roving.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
A trip to glass city doesn't go as well as planned. Yet Cindy finds inspiration and few new tools!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew introduces eight new fine pewter pieces from his family's company, Green Girl Studios.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Orlando Show...

I'll be at the Bead Mercantile show here in Orlando at the Maitland Civic Center manning the Green Girl Studios booth. Please drop by if you can and say hello and see our new pieces! I'd love to see what you've been making. Remember you get a free bead if you represent Green Girl Studios by wearing one of our pieces. You also might get a chance to see Cynthia. She just got the galleys to edit and her book, Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed Media Jewelry with Metal, Clay, Wire, Resin + More, is BEAUTIFUL! If you beg her (really, really, really) hard you might get her to show you a glimpse. (Also stop by the show to see the talents of Patti Cahill, Lea Zinke, and many others!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Memory Lane...

One of my best friends came over for dinner tonight; I made a pork stir-fry and Greg and Cynthia picked up a delicious key lime pie. I've known Jenni for at least 15 years and it was definitely good to sit down and catch up with her. It was almost like time had stood still and we picked up where we left off, laughing until our sides hurt with a commentary for everything.

Some of my best memories include my good friend. We spent many a sunny afternoon exploring the neighborhood, riding bikes until our legs were useless, writing stories, painting pictures, and most of all... dreaming. Neither of us came from what one would call a privileged background, but we still made the best of things and had GRAND plans with limitless horizons. It was nice to laugh again under those BIG skies.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Green Girl Studios Components...

These eight fine pewter designs are new from my family at Green Girl Studios. Originally, the mushroom, the snail, the bird and the nest charms were cast in shibuichi, but were retooled for fine pewter. Greg carved the magical-looking button for his wedding vest out of PMC. The new peapod has two peas in the pod. Cynthia and Greg had received so many requests, that they eventually caved and carved one. (How apt with Azalea and Baby Brother coming along the way!) The butterfly toggle and the fairy pendant are brand new. The fairy pendant says on the back, "Come away oh human child to the waters and the wild."

All of these pieces will be available THIS WEEKEND at the Orlando Bead Mercantile show at the Maitland Civic Center. Please stop by to say hello and see the brand new pieces!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dali and the Beach...

We decided to take a short excursion from Orlando and head over to the Gulf Coast. We drove to St. Petersburg to check out the Salvador Dali Museum and the beach.

I always love the smaller specialized museums. Of course I adore the big grand collections, but there's something nice about a museum with a very particular focus. This usually tends to increase the depth of knowlege and really makes things juicy. Although it was a little pricey to get in, I think it was well worth it. It was really interesting to see what Azalea thought of the paintings and drawings.

Above is a picture of Greg, Azalea, Sheila and I. Azalea was tired of the museum and ready for the beach! She wanted to splash around so much! I guess she was just really hot.

The fire-hydrant was converted into a work of art with the stickers from the museum embellishing nearly every square inch.

The beach was absolutely wonderful. The sands were white, the breeze was cool, and it was very refreshing to stand there near the waves and surf and sort of melt into the scenary. We found the perfect spot in historic Pass-a-Grille.

The beach was also home to quite an impressive selection of shells. I mean the ground was just carpeted with them. I had fun sifting through the piles and picking out my favorites. It was perfectly relaxing.

Congo River Golf...

Last night, Greg, Cynthia, Azalea and I went over to the newly opened, Congo River Adventure Golf course for 18 holes of fun! We also got a chance to see their well-stocked alligator pit and marvel at their predatory design.

Above is a picture of Greg, Azalea and Cynthia (and Baby Brother in Cynthia's tummy) at the top of the put put course. I'm not really sporty and have discovered that put put is a "sport" that can be added to the list of sports that I'm not good at. I did have a streak of beginner's luck though, but nothing compared to Azalea's hole-in-one. She's a natural! Despite my failings, I still had a lot of fun. I guess I'm okay with not winning or taking myself too seriously and enjoying the game instead of being swept up by competitiveness.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mom and the Giant Yellow Banana...

Well... the "giant yellow banana" is actually a plantain. My mom was dancing around and showing off her latest tropical fruit find. I think my relationship with my mom is better now. I gave myself permission to see my mom for more than just the role of "mother" and see her now as a person too. Before we couldn't dance around the kitchen waving around fruit. Now we can have a lot more fun cooking, crafting and talking. It is an odd thing to try and get to know someone after having known them your entire life.

Black Hammock...

It is a strange thing being back in Florida. It seems like around every corner, there's a memory waiting to spring out unexpectedly. For instance, while exploring the Black Hammock Reserve off of Lake Jessup, we passed by a now vaccant and fallow field where I once worked a weekend manning a pick-your-own strawberry field. It was a hot and miserable job, but was a stepping stone to my independence.

Above is a picture of my sister, Sheila and Azalea sitting at the booth at the Lazy Gator Bar. The Lazy Gator Bar is an off-the road restaurant that has live music, delicious Southern food and airboat rentals on Lake Jessup.

Cynthia, sporting her new necklace she made, found a feather by the docks. It reminds me of when we were kids and had our cardboard treasure chests filled with an assortment of found objects, like shiny pebbles, fallen feathers and random bits of brightly-colored string - and of course beads.

Above is a photo of Greg and Cynthia sitting at the booth waiting for our food in the Lazy Gator Bar. Note the stuffed alligator head in the background. The Lazy Gator Bar reminds me of my grandparents. It seems like a place that they would have liked. It also reminds me of the fictious bar in the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris called Merlotte's.

Here is a photo of Lake Jessup from the dock. It's much bigger than it looks and is home to all manner of creatures - alligators, frogs, snowy egrets, Roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes and much more.

One of the things that I love about Florida is the abundance and diversity of life. Above is a picture of a snail shell on the rocks along the dock. It's a reminder that life comes in all shapes and sizes.

A giant gator head sculpture marks the entrance to Black Hammock Adventures. Across the way they have a fenced off portion for alligators, a large cage for parrots and airboat rides.

The highlight of the trip out to the Black Hammock Reserve was the FOOD! Above is a picture of the powdered sugar sprinkled corn fritters. They were delicious.

Above is a 1 pound basket of gator bites and honey mustard sauce. They were absolutely wonderful. The meat was light in texture, supremely flavorful, not too gamey nor too greasy and hit just the right spot.

The restaurant also had an aquarium that had a baby alligator in it. Azalea couldn't stop looking at it and starring at the little reptile body splashing around.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Long Way From Here...

It's strange to be back in my old hometown. It feels like so much has happened since I've lived here, to me and to the area. I can't escape the nostalgia. I am flooded with thoughts and memories that are distinctly tied to this place - this place that is not my home anymore.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself from the corner of my eye in a reflection and I see myself as I once was. I used to be so eager to get out there in the world, make a name for myself and change everything. I felt righteous and angry and so driven. Nowadays, I think I'm more patient and not so quick to act. I still get fired up about certain things, but at the same time I think I've learned that there are many ways and my way might not be the best way for everyone and that there are some things in life that cannot be changed by a single person. It may sound as though I've lost my zest for life or that I've somehow lost my claws as they say, but I now see that there are different types of change and different ways of causing change, that I am not separate from the world and the world is not separate from me and that by doing what I love and feels right will effect far more people in an intimate way than me struggling for what I've been told is the height of success. The world is beautiful and each day is an opportunity to see that if we don't lose sight of simply what's arround us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beaded Links...

Summer time is affecting Tammy's jewelry designs. How about yours? Check out her summer jewelry plans so far.
Kandinsky inspires this month's challenge. The ABS editors suggest a selection of their handmade art beads for a Kandinsky inspired jewelry piece.
Barbe reviews Ancient Modern Polymer Clay book. Carmi's Art/Life WorldA vintage comic book becomes the inspiration for a necklace.
A new shipment of copper blanks has Melanie plotting for some metal playtime!
Auntie's Beads provided wonderful copper beads and findings so Cyndi could create this necklace!
In need of a speedy bead? Check out this quick and easy jewelry idea!
Pink, gold,and cream! Jean creates a lovely necklace and earring set featuring a beautiful Russian hand painted focal from Artbeads.com
Melissa shows off her work in progress - an eerie lock and key design.
Andrew shares a new necklace design. Check it out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


After the show closed, we took a stroll along the beach.  It was relaxing to take my sandals off and walk along the water's edge, the warm water coming up every now and then.  If you're in the area, please do stop by the show and say hello!

Come See Me...

Here's the Green Girl Studios booth display here in Fort Lauderdale at the Bead Mercantile Show at the Courtyard by Marriott - Cypress Creek Hotel. It looks like a great show, full of really awesome vendors. If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello! (If you don't mind me stopping to take care of a customer every now and then, I'd love for you to drop by and pull up a chair to craft awhile!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Here and Now...

I'm blogging from...

Is it an airport?  An office building?  An art museum?  A convention center?  A hospital?  Nope!  It's the Westin Fort Lauderdale.  Without a doubt, this is a pretty swank hotel.  However, I have to chuckle to myself when I consider what exactly gives this place an expensive and austere atmosphere.  The funny thing is that what gives it that expensive feel is a sense of absence, a coldness and minimalism of any place of business.  This is not the Florida I grew up in.
It's a far cry from the misty mountains of North Carolina.  I feel almost as though I'm out of place here.  In my mind, the idea of comfort is one of warmth and character... not so much hard lines and sparse over-designed furniture.
As I mentioned, we're in Florida now for the Bead Merchantile show in Fort Lauderdale.  Everyone should come out to the show and say hello!  We've got lots of new goodies to check out and it'd be good to see some of my friends from the Miami show.  In preparation for the show, I made some travel snacks.  One of them was caramelized bacon.  Yep, I was thinking of you Nina.  (Cynthia and I have been saying, "I want that."  A LOT lately.)

Last night we spent the night at my parents' house in Oviedo.  After the Fort Lauderdale show, I'll be there for a week... so it'll be interesting to spend a little bit of time in a town I grew up in, but haven't spent much time in since.  I'm really interested in seeing old friends and of course to indulge in the yummy food that my mom makes.  She made her world famous flattened fried chicken, rice, sweet Zellwood corn, green beans with onions, and sweet tea. Azalea polished off two ears of corn and was still hungry for more!

We didn't really get to spend much time there last night, but one of the things I found was an award-winning drawing that I did in the first grade.  It's strange that I drew the mountains like that.  I don't think I ever saw mountains like that until much later in life – mountains like the mountains in Asheville.  Ones that seem unreal in their coloring, an umbra of lavenders, forget-me-not blues and pale blue-grays.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Good Day...

Firstly, let me say THANK YOU to everyone who commented both on and off the blog with kind and supportive words. I am blown away with the response. You all are awesome! I am touched beyond words.

Secondly, I wanted to say how cool it was to be in the room during the ultrasound when they found out that Cynthia is having a baby boy! He's already really cute and amazingly strong!

Today was a good day. We got a lot done, cleaning and organizing and preparing for the trip to Florida. We also had Cheryl Ann and Michelle over for dinner. It was so good to see them. I've missed them so much!

Cheryl Ann and Michelle provided the peach sangria. It was tasty and very refreshing. In my mind, sangria is one of those iconic summer breverages. Seeing it always puts me in a good mood - it reminds me of good friends, good food, and lots of conversation.

For the feast, Greg grilled country ribs, potatoes, and asparagus. All the while, Cynthia and I made the steamed corn on the cob, and green beans with caramelized onions and toasted almonds. For dessert, Azalea, Cynthia and I made chocolate cupcakes. Greg made the cream cheese frosting and they were TASTY! The feast was a perfect way to end the day.
Above is a close-up of the green beans. It's funny because we had just watched Tyler Florence cook them on Food Network and had to have them.

Anyway, today was a good day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not a Punching Bag...

Hello from Charlotte!  Today has certainly been a VERY LONG day.  I'm at a layover waiting for my connecting flight.   Since I've been here awhile and the WiFi is free, I've been fully connected to the internet and have been checking my email.  I was really surprised at the response the post, "On Copying..." received off the blog.  I received a few angry, accusatory emails.  I have half a mind to post them here with the responsible party's name and email address, but I don't want to be petty and vindictive.  In fact, I am not going to even validate the emails with a response.  What I will say is that I'M NOT A PUNCHING BAG!  Just because I'm out there talking about issues and willing to examine different perspectives does not mean that I'm open to what boils down to slanderous hate mail.  I believe that blogging is about creating community and opening up dialogue.  We have a wonderful opportunity to share and express ourselves – but I think there has to be line drawn.  Don't accost me for things I didn't say.  Don't assume how I feel.  Don't abuse my willingness to post my email address.

Okay... with all that said, I'm enjoying the sweet tea here.  

Well, I've got to jet... literally!

On the Road Again...

In a few hours, I'll be taking off again to go back on the road. I'll be heading down to North Carolina first and then down to Florida for a few weeks. So make sure to stop by the Green Girl Studios booth to say hello if you'll be in Fort Lauderdale (June 20 and 21st) and Orlando (June 27th and 28th) for the Bead Mercantile shows.

Oh! And above is a new bracelet I made. It's a variation on the skull bracelet I did before, in pinks and blacks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

On Copying...

I think one of the most common topics to come up in creative fields is "copying" and more negatively – being "ripped off". I've seen arguments made for both sides and seen tempers flare and erupt into violent disputes. Needless to say, it can be a very complicated situation. Below you'll find various blog posts from folks of all different backgrounds covering many aspects of the subject (on both sides of the fence) that I think make excellent food for thought. (Since the collection of these posts goes back several months ago, some of the opinions have changed, been amended, or expounded upon and therefore are merely a cross-section of ideas.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It was my friend, Jen Tong's birthday. So, I made her a cake. I really liked the stewed apricots that I made before, so I wanted to incorporate them into her cake. I also liked the rum cake that I made for Easter. So, I brought all those recipes together and made an stewed-apricot-saffron-infused-rum-almond cake. I mixed the remaining liquid from the apricots with saffron-infused rum for a glaze. (It currently is in the fridge soaking up all the yummy juices.)

New Necklace...

Here is another new necklace I made. Even though you can buy wire-wrapped stone link chain, I prefer the look of thicker wraps. So, I wire wrapped all the labradorite and garnet links. At the bottom, the focal includes wire-wrapped opal, cyanite, garnet, amethyst, onyx, and labradorite. To finish it off, I patinated the necklace to bring out the details.

Above is a close up of the cluster. I don't think the picture does the piece justice though. It looks better worn and full of movement.