Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My progress with the Destash Sale was delayed... BUT... for a good reason!  My brother-in-law and his (then) fiance got married!  Congratulations Adam and Erin!  They're such a sweet couple and I was so proud to be apart of the day.  Not only was I able to witness these beautiful people tying the knot, but I also made jewelry for the wedding party and some of the immediate family.  Such an honor!  It was a really lovely ceremony and we had a wonderful time at the reception.  The photobooth picture I borrowed of the happy duo comes courtesy of Top Dog Productions.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pizza Party...

When I was a kid, we used to have a pizza party whenever our class did something particularly good.  It wasn't the rectangles of cardboard doom they served on Mondays in the cafeteria either!  It was brought in from a local pizzeria and was definitely a reward.

The pint-sized metal desks with wood veneer tops have long been put away, but the tradition still stands.  On Thursdays (our late nights at Allegory Gallery) I treat myself to grilled pizza from Connections Cafe.  And boy is it good!
They only make the grilled pizzas during the warmer months on Thursday nights and special occasions.  One of my favorites is the caramelized onion with blue cheese.  Sharon drizzles a bit of balsamic, which seems to bring out the sweetness of the onions and the tang of the cheese.  The grill gives a nice smoky quality to the crust and makes it nice and crispy.  

It's definitely a good thing!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Destash Continues...

While looking at the dashboard of BigCartel for many hours, uploading new pieces to the Destash Sale, I realized that my Shop could use a nice tidying up as well.  I've drastically reduced the price on some things found in my Shop that I'd like to move and sell out of.  They're the kinds of things like experiments or the last few pieces of a particular design that I'm going to discontinue.  Instead of just having them take up space, I thought that I'd give them new homes and hopefully find people who will use them and cherish them.  CLICK HERE to check out the Destash Sale.  (Don't worry!  It's not just a rehash of old stuff.  I also added a few new items not listed before.)

The Soft Glass Invitational...

This past weekend, we made the two hour trip up to Hilliard, Pennsylvania for the first-ever Soft Glass Invitational.  The retreat and bazaar were held at the Glass Blowing Center.  The location is out in the country and surrounded by peaceful views and friendly neighbors willing to show you their hand-hewn log cabins, handmade canons, and blacksmithing huts.

It was a nice trip and the drive out couldn't have been better.  It did my heart good to see familiar faces and to touch bases before the Bead & Button Show frenzy.  One of the smiling faces we always enjoy seeing is Maria Richmond of Lost Marbles!  She had a selection of finished jewelry and kits.  Maria teaches from time to time at Allegory Gallery.  (So if you're interested in taking one of her classes and are local, please let us know and we'll get things set up!)

Seems like it was only the other day I was set up next to Cleo of Grama Tortoise in Baltimore.  She was pregnant and laughing at my choice of snack foods!  Here she is with her son, Liam.  He looks just like his father... like someone made a copy, shrunk it down, and babified it!  Make sure to check out her amazing sculptural lampwork.  The details are simply amazing!
One of my first and dearest friends in the bead business was/is Patti Cahill!  She was in attendance with her candy-like creations.  I am happy to say that I took home a pocketful of her lovely work!
Above is a picture of Kristi Brokaw.  She makes adorable lampwork glass skulls and birdcages.  I was remiss in not getting one of the skulls.  I thought, "Oh, I'll just get one at Bead & Button."  But I found out later that she won't be attending this year!  Shucks!

Always inspiring, Sara Sally LaGrand was there with her stunning work.  When I see her artwork, it just boggles my mind and blows me away!  They seem to be alive.  One day I'll own one of her glass pieces.  (I do have a teapot that she subliminally made of my head.)
After the bazaar closed, we took a tour of the neighbor's property and he showed us around.  It was fascinating... albeit loud!  He showed us a canon, a bullwhip and invited us to come over later to fire guns.  His gun was called "Big Hammer" and big it was!

We didn't get an opportunity to shoot as we had to drive home that night, but we did get a chance to get dinner at the Center.  I was worried that we missed it!  I had been hearing whispers of the menu all day.  They served a very tasty meatloaf with cheesy mashed potatoes topped with Amish butter and a salad.  Delicious!

I could not have a post about the Soft Glass Invitational without mentioning the supremely awesome Lewis Wilson and Barb Cope Svetlick, and Jennifer Wilson of Soft Flex Company!  I also wanted to thank Kim from Fall Hill Bead and Gem for the glittering Herkimer diamond that she and Adam mine!

One of the things that I love about these sort of get togethers is that the people who come are good people.  They share their knowledge and offer friendly smiles.  I feel lucky to be apart of such a welcoming community!  We are a family.

The Destash Begins...

The Destash Sale begins!  I've added the first 25 products to the Destash Sale.  Most of them are rings.  Did you know that I collect rings?  I don't wear very many of them and have gotten some of them just because I liked the look of them.  I've also inherited several other people's ring collections and I thought it was time that I started to free the rings to good homes.

I will be continuing to add things as I can find the time.  Adding things in sets of 25 sounds reasonable.  Don't worry!  I will combine shipping and will refund the additional shipping charges if I see more than one order.  I have boxes and boxes of things to add!  So if you like something, snap it up so that I'll have space in my online shop to add more!  CLICK HERE to check out the Destash Sale.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monsters of my Motherland...

We just hosted the second installment of Words in Process at Allegory Gallery.  I was feeling brave and decided to share the beginning of a piece.  I don't usually share my fiction.  It's a highly personal thing and I was feeling VERY NERVOUS.  It's one of those things that I've loved doing – writing stories – but have the least amount of technical training and have always felt bashful.  I did want to contribute to the evening though, so I read.  I call it, "Monsters of my Motherland".  I was highly uncomfortable reading and stumbled quickly through it.  I hope the audience didn't mind too much.  When I hear it in my mind, I hear someone like Michelle Yeoh reading it very slowly and deliberately.  

The first segment is seen through the eyes of a twelve year old Filipino girl.  Some of it (only a very small fraction) is based on stories my mother told me about her own childhood and her mother's death, but most of it is fiction.  One of the things that I wanted to capture was a lyrical-fairytale style.  In the parts of rural Philippines, it seems like what we would consider being myth or fantasy is very much apart of the every day.  

So without further ado... I present, "Monsters of my Motherland":

My father has gone to get the Messiah.  Mother is ill and all his magics could not heal her.  He laid his hands upon her and prayed to Mary, Mother of God, but she did not get better.  He prayed to the ancestors and to those that came before us, but she did not recover.  He went into the jungle with a jug of rice wine and three coconuts to leave as an offering to the spirits of the woods, but she only got sicker.  My aunties and uncles do not come to visit anymore.  They say that mother is haunted by a vengeful spirit and that it drinks her blood at night.  I have seen the bites all over her body.  They are an angry red with black circles around them.  

One night her fever was bad and my father was half mad from grief and frustration that all his efforts to heal her had not worked.  He went out on to the beach, screaming at the night and cutting his arm with his machete. He kept shouting, "Is this what you want?  Is this what you want?!  You can have my blood!  You can have it all!"

In the morning he would not get up to go fishing.  He did not get up to even sit next to my mother.  He sat, hunched over, on the other side of the room on a straw mat.  His face was white and his eyes were red.  His hands and feet were black and covered with ashes.  The cuts on his arms looked bad.  He was cold to the touch when I went to check on him and I was worried that he was dead.  But he wasn't.  His breath came in thin hisses.  I could tell that he was not happy and would give us kids beatings if we bothered him.  He looked hard and mean.  I told my brothers and sisters to hide in the trees.  I told them it was a game.  We were a family of baby monkeys and I was the mama monkey.  Only I came inside to give my mother water and wipe her forehead.  I avoided his bitter looks.  I left a bowl of rice next to my father, but he didn't touch it.  He looked like he was a hundred years old and like he'd never sing again or tell us stories or make magic.  He didn't look like my father anymore.

When it got dark, my brothers and sisters got scared and were tired of playing.  There was no moon and the stars looked extra bright, like holes in heaven.  We snuck in as quiet as we could.  It didn't matter.  Only our mother was in the room with the bowl of rice, still untouched.

My mother talks in her sleep.  She says things that scare the little ones.  She says things that scare me.  She tells stories of dark men who are covered in thick fur who live in mountains.  They steal children and make them their servants.  Sometimes she talks about a sly snake that wanted to marry a human girl.  She told him no and ran away.  She got married to a fisherman, but when they had babies they were not human babies, but were all snakes. The worst story my mother tells us in her sleep is the one about the woman that can change her face and pretend to be your mother.  She acts sweet and kind, but eats the children one by one in the middle of the night.  That story scares me the most.

Father was still not back and we ran out of fresh water.  So, I decided to go to the neighbors to get some.  I put on my best dress.  It was pink with big, yellow flowers.  It had holes, but it was clean.  I remember when my mother got me the dress.  My little sister was jealous and put a hole in it.  She put it right on the butt!  When my mother saw it, she slapped her and said, "Why are you so stupid? You put a hole in your own dress!  One day you'll have to wear it!  It won't fit your sister forever!"  I got embarrassed thinking about that hole all the way to the neighbors.

They were fighting loudly when I got there.  I did not hear everything that they said and I did not know who was arguing, but one of them wanted to go fishing and the other had let a crazy man borrow their boat.  The first voice said that he had seen the crazy man burn his own boat in the night and now he would burn their boat!  Another voice asked when the crazy man said he would bring it back?  The other one said he didn't know.  To this, there were a lot more unhappy voices!

I was about to turn and go, but I remembered the water.  I needed to make rice porridge for my mother and my siblings.  I smiled as big as I could and knocked on the door.  Everyone turned to look at me.  I said, "We are out of water and my mother is very sick.  Can I borrow some water, please?"  I saw the owner of the first voice and he said, "Now his fool daughter wants to borrow our bucket!"

My father has gone to get the Messiah in our neighbor's boat.  And I have borrowed their bucket.

We took turns waiting for father on the beach next to what used to be our boat.  My brothers tried to fish while they waited, but didn't catch much.  The rest of us looked for food in the jungle, picking fruit when we found it and catching wild chickens when we could.  One of us always sat with our mother.  She was not getting better and the sores were starting to smell.  Her fever had broken, but she could not get out of bed and it looked like someone had traced her veins with a piece of our burnt out boat.  She didn't tell stories in her sleep anymore.  Instead, we prayed.

Eight days later, my father returned in the neighbor's boat.  He did not find the Messiah, but instead brought missionaries.  Two men stood.  One woman sat.  There were three in total.  My father rowed.  One of the men was short and stocky with a big, black beard and a round, red face.  The other was tall and skinny with a wide-brimmed hat.  His skin was pale and his eyes were green.  I could not see the woman missionary well.  I could not tell if she was white or Filipino like me, but I could see her looking at my father.  He still looked like a stranger.  It was like he had gotten lost on the beach that night and someone else had come back in his place.  I did not wait for them to pull the boat on the beach.  I walked back to be by the side of my mother.

The three missionaries prayed for my mother, but her health did not improve.  They called on Jesus and they blessed her with all their Might, but she still laid there unable to mend.  The wide man, Mr. Tim, even poured medicines from brown bottles down her throat and injected her with needles, but it just caused her to puke all over and pee her bed. Three days after the substitute saviors arrived, my mother died.  Not even their faith or their medicines could help her live.

A day later, we found my father by the burnt out boat – his vain sacrifice.  His eyes were open and looking out to sea, where the strangers had come.  The vengeful spirit my aunties and uncles had feared so much had claimed its second victim and my remaining parent.  It bided its time with my brothers and sisters and me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day Sale...

Lately, I've been missing my mom terribly.  She's down in Florida and I rarely get a chance to visit.  Things are so busy with the store and we're still in the start-up phase... it's hard to even imagine taking time off.  I'm hoping that if things keep going well with Allegory Gallery and the workload smoothes out, that I'll be able to make a trip down soon.  The picture is one that my sister, Sheila, took of her out in the yard proudly displaying a star fruit that she picked from their trees.  In honor of Mother's Day, which is coming up this weekend, I decided to host a little sale.  Use coupon code, "MAMA" and receive 30% off everything in my shop.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


The days here are full and busy.  I have rarely been as productive as I have been of late.  I sometimes snap a picture while I'm working and have quite an extensive backlog of photos to share of the new and wonderful things I'm making and seeing and doing.  But then I look at the clock and the hour (usually) is late and my eyes are heavy and I think that I'll wait another day.  Perhaps tomorrow?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Lima Beads Reader's Challenge...

This past Tucson, I had the pleasure of attending the Lima Beads party.  They are a really fun bunch of people and I always look forward to seeing them!  Not only do they have a great online beady destination, but they sure do know how to throw a party!  Before the impromptu dance party broke out, we had a chance to chat and catch up.  I told them about opening Allegory Gallery and how I was sad that the February Reader's Challenge was the last one; putting together the kits, mailing them out and organizing everything on top of running a brick-and-mortar store was just too much!  That's when the idea to team up struck!

In the past, Lima Beads has joined forces with other artisan jewelry-makers and bloggers (like Lorelei Eurto and Shannon Chomanczuk) to create really stunning Challenge Kits.  So why not give the capable crew at Lima Beads the dirty work and keep the fun part for myself?  Thusly, the Lima Beads Reader's Challenge was born!

I had a great time selecting these spring-inspired components for the Challenge Kit!  I really love all the fresh shades of green and the beautiful artisan components that we were able to pull together.
The kit includes a fine pewter bunny toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios, a pewter bunny charm from TierraCast, a ceramic bird pendant from Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio, two types of Japanese seed beads, lucite leaves, Czech glass, a large-holed tagua nut bead, and some lovely hammered chain!  Fear not!  You won't have to troll through the vast expanses of the internet or even hunt through their extensive selection of items to track down all the components – they've been neatly assembled all in this great kit!  CLICK HERE to check them out and to get your's today.  There are ONLY 33 kits available!  So if you're interested in participating, I would HURRY and jump on it before they're gone!

The Reader's Challenges are a fun and informal way to play, create and to challenge yourself with a pre-selected set of components!  It's always fun to test your creative sensibilities and to share the results!  With your kit, using as much or as little of it as you like, create a piece that showcases your creativity, individuality, and artistic expression.  Ideally your creation will spotlight the great artisan components included, but the sky's the limit with what you can create!  Keep your project secret until the reveal date!

The Reveal Date is Friday, June 1st!  Post a picture of your piece on your blog or send one to me (before the Reveal Date) to post if you don't have your own.  The Lima Beads Reader's Challenge will culminate in a Blog Hop with your other participants!

There are only 33 Challenge Kits available!  CLICK HERE to get your own Kit for the challenge.  You must have a kit to participate!  Hurry!  Supplies are limited and are on a first come, first serve basis.  I want to thank Kevin, Aly, Cathy, Matt and the whole Lima Beads team for making this a reality and for encouraging me to continue this fun way to inspire and challenge others in this great community!  THANK YOU!

I can't wait to see what you create!  I am SO excited!  If you want to participate in the Blog Hop, leave a comment to this post with your blog address after you've purchased your kit or email me (ardenttie@yahoo.com) and let me know that you're onboard for this wonderful, creative challenge!