Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The first of the blackberries have ripened and a handful of tart berries were plucked. You should have seen my hands (and mouth) afterwards, stained sweetly with splotches of blue and purple. We have several patches on the property, as well as spots along the roads thick with their brambles. Later in the season, I have plans for blackberry jams and jellies, sauces, cakes, cobblers and clafoutis.

Hard Day...

Paulo and Babette went to the vet today. It was a hard day for them, particularly for Paulo. He does not like the carrier, the car, or the vet. The whole way there he cried and cried. Babette for the most part was subdue and even found a chance to snag a nap on the way over. (How she could sleep next to her brother meowing his head off is beyond me.)

Everything is fine and they won't need to go back for awhile. They did comment on Paulo's size. They couldn't believe that they were from the same litter and that they we both as young as they are. Apparently he's big for his age. The next time they go back will be in September. That's when they get their big surgeries.

As soon as we came home, Paulo ran over to the couch and tucked himself in and settled in for a nap. I could tell by the expression on his dreaming little face that he was glad to be home and have the hard day over.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Undiscovered Corners...

When I think back on my old apartment in Brooklyn and how big it seemed at the time, I laugh quietly to myself. Since I've relocated to the country, my sense of scale has shifted. Those rooms, miles away, seem so tiny now. The property that I live on now is roughly 80 acres. I've only tread a fraction of the territory. Far too often, I stick to my grid around the homestead.

Today I ventured further than I've gone before.

For part of my exploration, I stuck to the maintained paths. I mentally noted the blackberry and raspberry patches along the trails for plundering later. I marveled at how the path was hacked from the wildness, a vein of man snaking through the wood.

Not long after I started my walk, I left the paths in search of wilder vistas. My legs show the evidence of my curiosity. They are marked with hairline scratches and little pinpricks, but it was worth it. I saw fungi bigger than my head and snails the size of ping-pong balls.

Even when I left the path, to climb amongst the ferns and Virginia Creepy Crawler, there were still signs that there were those who came before me. I was not the first. Piles of rocks, that were once walls remain, even if slowly being swallowed up by leafy decay. They are the silent reminders of the past.

I discovered that several caves exist on the property. In retrospect, exploring near them was probably not the best idea. A bear came near the house not long afterwards and snatched up a bird-feeder. These caves and concave rock-faces could easily have been the homes of the wild animals, including the black bears. Luckily I did not stumble upon them or their homes.

There are still acres and acres of land still left to explore. I feel as though I've only scratched the surface. I look forward to revealing more of the mystery of the place that I live.

Thursday Giveaway Winner...

The winner for this past week's Thursday Giveaway is Sue of SueBeads. Congratulations! Please email me with your contact information and I'll put your prize in the post. Be on the look out on Thursday for another chance to win!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thunder in the Valley...

Yesterday we decided to "soak up some local color" and head over to Johnstown for their annual event, Thunder in the Valley. Thousands of motorcycles descend upon a ride route centered around Johnstown. Streets close down, motorcycle paraphernalia vendors set up and a throng of thousands of people make their way through the downtown ogling bikes and listening to free concerts.

Admittedly, I was more interested in the fried foods than the motorcycles. I can appreciate the well crafted machines, but can't claim any overt fondness. (At least not the kind of fondness I have for a freshly fried funnel cakes doused with powdered sugar.)

My brother used to have a motorcycle. He left it in our barn when he disappeared. In the early days, I used to perch myself on it and wish for it to carry me away to him, as if its gears and mechanical heart would know exactly where to find him.

Later, when I was older, but not by much, one of my dad's employees (who rode a cherry red motorcycle with a sexy lady painted on it) befriended me. We were an odd pair. That summer, we spent many long hours together while working and in the idle moments between lawns we talked about comic books and places we'd always dreamed of going to. Sometimes I talked about my brother. Sometimes he talked about his. He missed his kid brother who lived on the other side of the country with his newly remarried mother and I missed my absent older brother who was about his age. I think he felt sorry for me and my family, not knowing where my brother was. Tommy used to sneak me on his motorcycle, going around in circles in the yard, pretending to let me drive. He promised that when I was older, he'd get my brother's old bike running again and then the two of us would go looking for him.

One day, Tommy didn't show up for work. I was never completely clear about what happened – if he had found easier work or a better paying job or if he decided to live closer to his brother across the country or if my mom had caught him taking me around the yard on his bike with the "dirty girl" painted on it. I never found out and they never told.

In the coming years, my motorcycle meditations became less and less frequent. But when I did sit on the bike, slowly becoming more and more dilapidated in the old red barn, imagining all the places I would go and finding my long lost brother, I also imagined finding my friend too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Let's have a Tiki party! Lisa found Tiki beads at Big Lots for $1.00 and is looking for ideas! Jewelry Making
Thinking of selling on-line but worried about the cost? Tammy has discovered three freebie sites for selling your jewelry, crafts, and vintage items.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene finds findings worth finding!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe has thoughts about creating multiple streams of income as a jewelry artist

Beading Arts
Cyndi has a copy of "Metalworking 101 for Beaders" to give away!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi's button maker is the reason for this new vintage image necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy rewinds on wire.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows her Steampunk Sampler class made of mixed metals, industrial porcelain, and cold connections.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei's studio is in total disarray. Check out some pics and if you have suggestions, she would totally be appreciative!

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean is delighted to review Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert! You will LOVE this book which focuses on wire and art beads!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses the process of reworking a weak necklace design - the revised version of which now appears on the cover of The Best of Step by Step Beads.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Always on the hunt for unique components, Andrew spotlights "pinch bail components" from Shoutrinse on Etsy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Self-Portrait Friday...

Since the start of summer, I've been finding more and more excuses to spend time outdoors. With the aid of the summer sun, I've been dissolving away too many grey skies and cold days etched by icy winter on my memory. When I'm basking in the sun, I play games of mentally weaving the clouds together and unbraiding the wind. I try to find patterns in the expanse of green leaves and brown branches. I listen to the songs of the birds and beat of their wings and find music there. I enjoy the summer.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Comfort Food...

Even though it's getting hot out, I started to get the hankering for some comfort food. So, I prepared a cabbage stew with crispy-fried pork balls for dinner. It was warm, filling, and hit the spot just right. The broth was so richly laced with flavor, it was hard to keep from slurping it out of the bowl!

Thursday Giveaway...

This week, one lucky winner will take home some elegant and easy-to-use "pinch bail" components. These sterling silver lovelies come courtesy of Alisa Masiejczyk of Shoutrinse on Etsy. The winner will claim the prize of two pairs of earwires and one "pinch bail" for a pendant. (I'm a smitten kitten with these "pinch bail" components, CLICK HERE to see what I've done with mine.)

To enter to win these stunning findings, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. One lucky winner will be randomly selected from the comment section of this blog post on Monday (June 28th) at midnight EST. Make sure to leave your name if it doesn't already appear next to your comment for easy verification. This giveaway is open to all participants, including, but not limited to international readers.

Bonus Points: You can earn an extra entry by blogging, updating your Facebook page, and/or Twittering about this Thursday Giveaway! Don't forget to add your act of social media kindness as a separate comment for your extra entry!

Findings Worth Finding: Pinch Bail Components...

I'm always on the look out for new products that look good, are innovative and are made out of topnotch materials. That's why I was particularly excited to discover Alisa Masiejczyk of Shoutrinse on Etsy.

shoutrinse pinch bail earwires
Alisa, a Poland-based jewelry designer, offers a healthy selection of "pinch bail components" and hard to find European-made goods. (She also has an Art Nouveaux-inspired shop that's to die for!) I wasn't familiar with "pinch bails" before, but was happy to discover the easy elegance of these earwires and pendant bails. They are a quick way to make a pair of dazzling earrings in seconds. All you have to do is pop on your desired item and press it shut. You can also stack flatter items for a more layered look. Check out her blog for step-by-step tutorials on how to use these unique components and get a glimpse of what inspires her.

Here are some things I threw together:

shoutrinse earrings ezel findings silverThe above earrings were made out of Alisa's sterling silver "pinch bail" earwires, NEW pewter pendants from my family, and black filigree from Ezel Findings. You can stack items in the pinch bail for a more layered look. I think the filigree does a nice job of framing the little fine pewter pendant that says, "heal" on the back.

shoutrinse bail swarovski gunmetal pendantHere is an example of the "pinch bail" as a pendant bail. This simple necklace took seconds to make. I used a Swarovski Cosmic Crystal Pendant and slipped it on a gunmetal chain, both from Fusion Beads. The "pinch bails" go perfectly with crystals because the exposure to tooling is limited and therefore reduces the risk of chipping.

shoutrinse swarovski earrings vermeilIn case you're into mixed metals jewelry, like working with the warmth of natural brass filigree, or are just really in love with gold, Alisa also offers the pinch bail components in 24K vermeil. I appreciate that Alisa only features components in her shop crafted out of the finest materials. The commitment to quality really shines through and gives pieces made with her components that "fine jewelry" look and feel. Don't the above earrings look posh? I just added Swarovski Olivine Navette Pendants from to a pair of Alisa's vermeil earwires!

I definitely recommend going to Shoutrinse on Etsy and checking out the amazing selection of pinch bail components!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Simple Pleasures...

Each day I open myself up to finding at least one magical moment. Sometimes the moments are big and sometimes they're so slight that they might easily be passed over. I think the latter are my favorite. I delight in basking in the small treasures and simple pleasures.

Today I wandered outside. A storm was brewing in the distance and the temperature had dropped from earlier in the day. There was a stillness and an almost oppressive calm. I meandered to the strawberry patch and plucked a few ruby jewels. They were still sun-warmed. It was if I was holding a little bit of summertime in the palms of my hand.

I took the berries inside and poured a saucer of aged balsamic vinegar. The pairing of the bright sweetness of the strawberries and the fruity tang of the vinegar might seem strange, but the result is bold, brilliant and bordering on effervescent.

Thursday Giveaway Winner...

The winner for this past week's Thursday Giveaway is Ann (aka Sabine) of My Critical Eye. Congratulations! Please email me with your contact information and I'll put your prize in the post. Be on the look out on Thursday for another chance to win!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Artist Trading Cards by Jeannette Faber...

jeannette faber artist trading cards jeannette faber artist trading cards
Above: Artist Trading Cards by Jeannette Faber. (Left) The Spirit. (Right) The Seer.

I met Jeannette Faber at BeadFest Wire in King of Prussia this past spring. She had stopped by my family's booth and we chatted throughout the weekend. I discovered that Jeannette is a talented polymer clay and collage artist. I was delighted to have found a kindred spirit and wanted to share my work with her. I just happened to have an Artist Trading Card with me and she told me that she organized swaps. So I presented her with mine. Jeannette responded by gifting me the two lovely pieces shown above. She used the CitraSolve technique to create the wonderfully antique and organic backgrounds. CLICK HERE to see more examples of her work.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer Dinner...

The plan was to have dinner on the deck. I wanted to make something nice, but not overly complicated to celebrate the solstice and enjoy the early evening sun. I decided on a quick rice pilaf with browned vermicelli pasta cooked with a smoked-chicken stock for maximum flavor. I find that substituting chicken stock for water is an easy way to jazz up recipes. Making your own chicken stock after roasting or smoking a chicken is also a good way to make use of every part of the chicken – even the bones, skin, and other parts not normally consumed.

I rubbed down the chicken breasts in a mixture of curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I then browned the chicken breasts in a little bit of rendered bacon grease. That's another staple that I like to keep on hand. It adds a nice smoky flavor and reduces sticking. After the chicken was a nice golden brown, I took them off the heat and began to caramelize some onions. Once the onions were nice and translucent, I added some more curry powder and some late harvest chardonnay. Late harvest chardonnays are sweeter and more like moscato dessert wines with a bright, citrusy flavor. I made a reduction sauce and then added the chicken back to the pan, letting the meat simmer in the amber-colored sauce. The chicken turned out moist, flavorful, and a nice accompaniment to the pilaf. With its bright, bold flavors, this was the perfect dinner to celebrate the season!

Ransom's Family Receipt Book...

ransom family receipt book vintageA few months ago at a flea market, we discovered the Ranom's Family Receipt Book from 1912. It was hidden in a stack of love letters in a spidery hand from the late 1800's. The paper of the receipt book was yellow and crumbling and it showed signs of a botched attempt at preserving the binding, but I was charmed by the recipes and old-timey advertisements. Invoking my Filipino mother, I haggled down the price to a couple of dollars and swooped it up.

I just now got around to scanning it in. Sadly some of the delicate corners did not make it and flaked apart in the process. Luckily though it is now preserved digitally and all may enjoy the article on the medicinal and health benefits of tobacco and the article on treating hemorrhoids and the delightful section on sauces and cakes. CLICK HERE to check out the scans on Flickr.

Summer Solstice...

The days are full and rich here. I feel as though I'm an instrument, being moved by an unseen hand towards a beautiful new direction. I've finished up several of my deadlines and decided to take today to reflect on the turning of the wheel, the onward momentum of the seasons.

It was nice to sit out on the deck and enjoy the sun and a good book. Tomorrow I'll get back to work, but today (the longest day of the year) I wanted to bask in the beauty of my new home.

This past weekend, we put in the hellebore plot. The above photo makes it look small. But the photo was taken up high on the deck and the circle actually measures about seven feet across and is now home to sixteen plants. Hellebores are also known as Lenten Roses and are unique for their unusual colorings (crimson, jade, apricot and even black) and the fact that they bloom during late fall and early winter. I'd like to add the "cherry blossom" and "golden" varieties if I can track them down at a good price. I eventually want to put in a circle of poppies, another of jack-in-the-pulpit, and another of dahlias (and perhaps one of columbines). Next year I'd also like to put in a rose garden.

I hung the hummingbird feeder. I also weeded the garden (which was made much easier by the black plastic) and planted some spinach seeds. I even got some garden soil around some of the tomato plants. The garden has been calling to me more and more recently. I dream of the things I will plant and how I will better the soil and increase the yield. I feel a certain happiness when I'm digging around in the dirt and see the plants grow and thrive.

I'm not the only one who has been celebrating the summer solstice by basking in the sun. Babette always finds where the sun is shining brightest and stretches out with her little powder puff paws.

It's a happy time here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
What do you think about solar system jewelry? Lisa found a ceramic bead strand that looks like it could turn that solar system science project into jewelry! Jewelry Making
If you are selling your jewelry on-line or thinking about it, then you'll find some of these resources very helpful.

Art Bead Scene
The June Monthly Challenge is a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Beading Arts
Do you like Chinese food? Do you like jewelry...?

Carmi's Art/Life World
A button get's glammed up with tear drop rhinestones.

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy touts one of her favorite colors in this week's rewind.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie explores building materials as texture and symbolism in a new set of pendants inspired by a fortress theme

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei got together for a fun beady date with Kerry Bogert, and together they created a necklace!
Come by and visit for a chance to win free Patina-ted Metal Components!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is fascinated by the beautiful necklace which Jennifer Dangerfield created and reposts her analysis of what makes it so appealing! All jewelry afficionados really must see this lovely piece!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her necklace design that won second place in the Metal Clay category of Bead Dreams 2010.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
On the heels of his trip to Milwaukee for the "Bead & Button" Super Show, Andrew documents and shares his favorite highlights from the experience.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Self-Portrait Friday...

Before I engaged in the Self-Portrait Fridays started by Nina Bagley, I hardly ever took pictures of myself. I had grown to be content on capturing the world around me. This exercise has proven mighty insightful though. It has forced me to examine myself closer – deeper.

I sometimes struggle with what to say in conjunction with these images. Since I've started my blog, I've always had an invisible line of what can be said and what should be kept private. With as much as I do share, it might not seem that way at all. But I do censor myself. Sometimes I think these pictures reveal too much. My thoughts are smeared across my face like a camera glare, disclosing the contours of my mind and secret scars. These photos – grainy, blurry and as imperfect as I am – say what I cannot.

The Stash...

This year, I tried to reign in my spending a little and stick within my budget. I'm going to try and be responsible and use some of the goodies I already have in my dragon's hoard. But I couldn't resist these mighty fine finds:

Polymer from Heather Wynn-Millican and Heather Powers of HumbleBeads, resin from Natural Touch Beads, lucite from The Hole Bead Shop, lampwork glass from Patti Cahill, Kerri Fuhr, and Katherine Wadsworth of Natalia Designs, ceramicss from Lisa Peters Art, Diane Hawkey, and Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio, metal components from Anne Choi, Cathy Collison of Glass Garden Beads, and my family at Green Girl Studios, and garnets from Kia.

I wish I could have had more time (and more cash) to pick up more. The Bead & Button show is a wonderland of treasures. It's a particularly nice place to get artisan-made goods that are hard to track down otherwise. I know now that I'll be kicking myself for weeks for not picking up certain goodies. Oh well... next time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Giveaway...

This week, one lucky winner will take home five terrifyingly terrific skull-themed jewelry components. The skulls come courtesy of the Skull Shop section of My Shop. The winner will win one boxwood Ojime bead, one crackle-glaze ceramic skull by Lisa Peters Art, one shibuichi super mini skull bead by Bob Burkett, one hand-carved bone bead and one carved blackened bone link pendant. The skull is perhaps one of the oldest symbols with a multitude of meanings, including mortality, eternity, vanity, rebellion, caution, mystery and defiance.
To enter to win these lovely beads, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. One lucky winner will be randomly selected from the comment section of this blog post on Tuesday (June 22nd) at midnight EST. Make sure to leave your name if it doesn't already appear next to your comment for easy identification. This giveaway is open to all participants, including international readers.

Bonus Points: You can earn an extra entry by blogging, updating your Facebook page, and/or Twittering about this Thursday Giveaway! Don't forget to add your act of social media kindness as a separate comment.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The BIG Bead & Button Post...

NOTE: I have tried and TRIED to finish updating this, but Safari keeps crashing and I keep losing HUGE chunks I've written. I will post it "as is" and go back and update in small pieces. Otherwise this may NEVER get finished. Sorry!

I began my trip by racing the sun across the sky. A deep sense of relief washed through me as I got on the plane. I could do no more. No last minute projects or preparations. All I could do was relax and focus my attentions on the horizon ablaze by the setting sun.

sunsetWhen I got to Milwaukee, I was greeted by my family and by Bob Burkett. We then went to dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was nice to spend a little time catching up and talking before the madness of the show began.

maximus green girl studiosIt was also particularly nice to spend time with my niece and my little nephew, Maximus. He's grown so much. Not only is he getting big and developing physically, but so too is his personality. Azalea is a good big sister and she loves her little brother. He loves her too and his dark eyes follow her movements carefully. I can tell that they'll be good friends.

Setting up is always a blur. It's a mad dash to the finish line. It's a wild race to get everything done before people start streaming in. We had a double booth, so it took twice as long to set up. It was also a challenge to entertain the kids while focusing on getting everything set up, but somehow we managed at the last possible minute. The last sticker was placed on the bowl just as the first customers started filing in.

The weekend was busy and admittedly, I didn't get a chance to walk around very much. It was great seeing everyone. It was so nice to catch up with long-time customers of Green Girl Studios and meeting new ones. I did carry around my camera and snapped shots whenever I could.

lisa peters art ceramicsDown the row a bit was the very talented and funny, Lisa Peters Russ of Lisa Peters Art. She makes wonderful ceramics and I picked up some special skulls she made just for me! I'm hoping to carry her skulls exclusively in my shop. CLICK HERE to check out the ones that are available for purchase now.

marcia decoster kathryn bowman tierracastThe best thing about these big shows is that nearly EVERYONE is there. It's always so good to see friends that you only see once or twice a year. For instance, it was nice for the ever-regal Marcia DeCoster author of Beaded Opulence: Elegant Jewelry Projects with Right Angle Weave to stop by. She said she added the bright fuchsia pink to her hair because I said it was missing last time.

Teacher and artisan, Kathryn Bowman of BeadWeaver, dropped by in between classes to say hello. We met several years ago in the Milwaukee airport of all places. We were both stranded by overbooked flights and planes with mechanical difficulties. We talked for hours.

The fine folks of TierraCast came by as well. (From left to right: Tracy, Christopher, and Julie Young.) I love that even though we both produce pewter lines, we all get along and have a deep respect and appreciation for each other. Their work and the work of my family goes well together. I met Tracy (the TierraCast jewelry designer) and Christopher (the TierraCast graphic designer) this past Tucson at the Swarovski Party. It seems as though I've known the delightful Julie Young forever.

erin prais hintz mary wohlgemuth fusion beadsLast year, I had the pleasure of meeting Erin Prais-Hintz for the first time. She owns and operates Tesori Trovati and has maintains the Treasures Found: Inspiration is Everywhere blog. She has been a steady source of support and encouragement. I was looking forward to talking with her more this year, but only got to chat with her briefly when she swung by the booth.

Bearing gifts of chocolate and locally roasted coffee from the fabulous Alterra, Mary Wohlgemuth (a.k.a. Mary Walla-Walla-Bing-Bang) of Kalmbach Publishing, popped by to say hello. It was great to see her (and not just because she replenished my coffee supply either)! She is an absolutely lovely person and an editor extraordinaire, who I hope to work with some day.

Speaking of lovely people bearing gifts of chocolate, Lindsay and Katie Wall of Fusion Beads visited the booth. They are hands down some of my favorite people in the bead world. I always have so much fun with them and I adore Fusion Beads. Fusion Beads is a one-stop-online-retailer that sports a variety of artist-made goods and just about any jewelry making supply you might be interested in, including (but not limited to) the NEW Swarovski crystal colors, pendants and beads, and a wide selection of new jewelry saws! Make sure to check out their collection of over 800 inspirational projects by CLICKING HERE.

heather powers humblebeads erica cessna lillypillyHeather Powers of HumbleBeads, Art Bead Scene and the Bead Cruise was set up just down the way. Heather makes really incredible polymer work, like this hand-painted bird pendant. It feels as though I've known Heather for ages, but I just met her last year at Bead & Button.

Erica Cessna, a fellow Pennsylvania resident and one of my favorite customers, came by the booth. Erica owns Reed's Beads in Ambler, Pennsylvania. It's easy to get swept up in chatting with her. We could talk for hours about books, movies and television. Erica is responsible for my addiction to TrueBlood and the books the show is based on by Charlaine Harris.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to swing by Lillypilly's table this time. I always look forward to seeing what they've been up to. I love their laser-engraved shell, horn and wood beads. Luckily, Jodi was able to swing by, even if only briefly to say, "Hello!"

marlene blessing molly schaller danielle foxThere are some people you are just meant to know. I feel that way about Marlene Blessing, editor of Road of Her Own: Woman's Journeys in the West. When I first met her, she told me a story about when she lived in the Philippines and went to the movies in a mahogany-paneled theater and how odd it was when they played a Tide commercial in the middle of the film. As she started to describe the commercial, the synapses fired and I realized that the commercial was the one my mom was in before she moved to the States! What are the chances?

Molly Schaller, former editor of Simply Beads and talented jewelry-maker, hams it up for the camera a little, showing off her recent Bob Burkett ring purchase. I couldn't resist posting this picture!

Molly poses again with Danielle Fox, editor of Stringing magazine and author of Simply Modern Jewelry. I just love Stringing! It's one of my favorite beading magazines. It's jam-packed with tips, tricks and design ideas. It's truly a designer's magazine.

michelle mach jeannette cook kate mckinnonIt's always a pleasure to see Michelle Mach. Michelle has such a good, grounding vibe. You might remember Michelle's work as the first editor of Beading Daily or through one of her countless contributions to various publications. We talked about the infamous "what's next..." Don't you think it's about time that she penned her own book?

I met Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women earlier this year in Tucson. Even though we've only known each other for a short amount of time, it feels like I've known her for years. I remember staying up late after long days at the show with Jeannette and Joyce Rooks, sipping wine and talking into the wee hours of the morning.

katherine wadsworth heather powers humblebeads deanna kittrellNormally I see Katherine Wadsworth of Natalia Designs in Hawaii. I've been lusting after one of her amber colored tree focal beads. They are particularly nice. Luckily she was set up just around the corner and I could periodically sneak away to grab a glimpse of them and chat about my new kittens.

It was nice to see the full array of Heather Powers' polymer clay at her HumbleBeads table. I've read about them. I've seen pictures of them. I even have a couple of her pieces. But I've never seen them all en masse. It was a treat. She does a masterful job of capturing painterly strokes in polymer clay.

Deanna Kittrell has been set up down the row from us for as long as I can remember. She was there again, sporting some new blue in her hair. She offers amazing chainmaille kits and jump rings.

diane hawkey melanie brooks earthenwood studio alethia donathanWithin the last year, I've gotten to know the delightful Diane Hawkey better. She's always got the craziest stories. You hear rumors about people who find lost works of art by seminal figures of art history at estate sales and then reselling them for much more than what they were originally purchased for. Diane is one of those people. Her spark for life and abilities as a storyteller add a little bit more spice and charm to her lovely ceramics.

Melanie Brooks

Alethia Donathan

Susan Nestor

Ute Brenstein

Stephanie Ann and Kerri Fuhr

Heather Wynn

Pam and Heather Wynn

Jill MacKay

Jess Italia Lincoln Vintaj

Stephanie Sersich

Patti Cahill

Heather and Jessica Glass Garden Beads

Andrea Guarino-Slemmons

joanne zekowski margaret zinser bernadette fuentesJoanne Zekowski

Margaret Zinser

Bernadette Fuentes

tierracast party milwaukeeTierraCast Party

michelle heim kristal wick katie hacker candie cooper melanie brooksMichelle Hiem

Kristal Wick

Bead Blogger

melanie brooks diane hawkey colin mahler wolfstone jewelryMelanie Brooks Diane Hawkey Wisconsin

Colin Mahler
barb switzer four seasons of beadingBarb Switzer
beaducation jeannette cook kareokeBeaducation

gail crosman moore tony irena miech eclectica jamie hogsettGail Crosman Moore

Tony and Irena Miech

Jamie Hogsett

bronwen heilman ghostcow clara nina designs kim foxBronwen Heilman

Clara Nina Designs

Kim Fox Handfast
kelli burns susan jones brenda schwederKelli Burns

Susan Jones

Brenda Schweder

sharon driscoll melissa j lee heather trudeauSharon Driscoll

Melissa J. Lee

Heather Trudeau

jean campbell kelly angley susan lenart kazmerJean Campbell

Kelly Angley

Susan Lenart Kazmer is fabulous! Was there any question? Not only does she manage to stay true to her muse and create things as an artist and is an active teacher, but she is also the figurehead of Objects and Elements Design Team and Blog (which are run by the delightful Jen Cushman), has a successful online shop, produces ICE resin AND just launched the Industrial Chic line of components at Michael's craft stores. Did I mention that she's also the author of Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists?

cynthia thornton anne choi kim van antwerpOn our last night in Milwaukee, we had dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery with Anne Choi. Anne patiently drew and traded pictures with Azalea, using index cards and crayons. Azalea took home an illustration of a mama mandrake holding a gourd along side a baby mandrake. I wonder who that's supposed to be?

We walked around after dinner. The light was magic. Everything was bathed in twilight. Cynthia stopped to take pictures. I just enjoyed the stroll.

After our walk, we headed back to the Rock Bottom Brewery to meet up with the rest of the gang. Greg was there with Aveesh and Carter (and her cousin Grenville) of Bead Trust and Temple Singh Jewels, Bob Burkett and Kim Van Antewarp. I told Kim that she looked like a teenage foreign exchange student. She proceeded to tell me about her Schwinn bicycle and I knew my earlier description was apt.

The big shows are such an amazing phenomenon. People gather from all over the world, united by a common creative interest. I find that after the shows, I'm a little blue. At the shows, your heart is so full of love, camaraderie and friendship. At the shows, your head is full of ideas and inspiration. Leaving it – saying goodbye – creates a vacancy filled with only an afterimage. It's kind of like we're all at summer camp and our time making crafts and seeing friends is over. I can almost hear the echoes of people shouting, "See you next summer!"