Monday, February 27, 2012


Clearing off my computer desk top gave me pause when I clicked on this picture, circa, 1963-ish.  I used the pic for a teaching illustration recently and (at the time) wasn't thinking about all this picture contained.  Now I reflect on this picture.  

That's me with my four brothers in front of our house in Spokane.  Cute little stair-step baby boomer family, right?  I notice my older brother is wearing his saddle shoes!  I'm wearing an outfit my mom made for me.  Another brother wears a sweater hand knit by our  Grandma.
My parents still live in our childhood home. The house we all grew up in.  The house where we witnessed life changes in one another.  The house where we all became teens... some were rebellious, others (me) less so.  The house where we celebrated wedding receptions and family reunions.  The house that still holds us together whenever we can all get "home" at the same time.  For almost 52 years, that old house has held our family memories, the joys, the pains, the hopes and dreams of us all.  My parents now "winter" in Arizona.  I look at the picture of all us then, in front of our house and the memories are so tender.
If I'm still feeling nostalgic later in the week, I may post a more updated picture.  Our family changed in 2006 when one of my brothers died.  Again, the house held all of us in our grief and gathered us under the eves and spread us out onto the patio to celebrate and remember.  It's so nice to have a "home" to visit and remember and be held in.
In a few weeks Peter and I are heading to Arizona to visit my parents in their home away from home.  It's not "home" but it's warm and SUNNY!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day

I took part of the day off and really needed to be creative.  I needed instant gratification, too.  I turned on Pandora, my Rufus Wainwright channel and then to Nora Jones... delightful!  Side note: Interesting to think about music choices while beading.  When I do complicated stuff, I tend to listen to Andre Bocelli.  Today was a day to be mellow.  So nice to have a late morning/early afternoon at home.  The weather is overcast and typical Portland.  The light in my studio is really good, though.  I use two Ott lamps and then there is natural, filtered light (it's Portland, always filtered light... bright sun is rare).  So here's what I made:
Are those AGE SPOTS on MY wrist?  Nay freckles, cute bracelets, that's all.
Here are four cute little bracelets.  Here are the links to the instructions: then   wrapped bracelet and the braided bead bracelet  All are super easy, instant gratification.  I got some PINK jeans and so for three of the four bracelets I used rosy pink Irish linen waxed cotton thread... gotta love.  Could spring be here soon?  The crocus' are up.  That's a good sign.  Here are all of the bracelets together.  Happy President's Day.  I wearing my pink jeans to a work meeting tonight:)

Monday, February 13, 2012


I think it's pretty cool to trade earrings for services or things that you crave.  I've sold some earrings, taught some classes, but today I made a TRADE.  My friend, Annie is teaching me chords on the piano in exchange for earrings.  She thinks she is getting a good deal.  Having taken piano lessons as a kid and as an adult it never clicked for me.  Annie happens to be a school teacher and she has a knack for getting her point across (sometimes).  She gave me a half hour lesson and I gotta say, something clicked.  I learned to read music as a kid... something I've know forever... I sing, I play some guitar and uke but tonight, I'm getting how to create a 7th or and a "sus" chord on the PIANO!!  Thanks Annie!  She also made excellent cheeseburgers for Peter and me.  I'm also learning this:
Circle of fifths
You are never too old to learn.  I've wanted to figure this out for YEARS.  Now I'm motivated and making some progress.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When Life Offers You Lemons

Look what arrived in the mail today!  Our good friends Larry and Linda moved to Arizona in 2010.  We miss them sooo much.  But the GOOD thing about living in Arizona?  These!!  They send us LEMONS fresh from the tree.
Lovely Lemons from L and L
Last year we made these:
For best results, sugar the rim... yum!

And these:

Hollowed out lemon half with candle
What to do this year?  Stay tuned.  I can't make the lemon drops tonight... but tomorrow there may be one or two in my future.  Last year someone asked me why I didn't make lemon meringue pie with them.  Really?  And waste them?  Besides I don't eat desert unless it's chocolate.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finished Dragon

Dragon Bangle, Nancy Jones pattern, Beadwork, Feb/Mar 2011
I finally have something finished to show.  Work has been busy and stressful and my beading time hasn't been productive.  Beading is my refuge, my meditative time and I know I'm better when I'm beading.  Last night I had a quiet house, a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate and lots of beautiful beads in front of me... and time... so I finished this piece.  

As I said in a previous post, this pattern was really tough to get started.  It felt like my fingers were too big to manipulate the beads.  I learned that placing the funky, magatama drop beads with the steep side up made them easier to grab and placed them in the proper position when sewn into place.  I'm not a fan of brick stitch.  I'm not sure of the integrity of a piece that is hooked together thread to thread.  But this pattern was so intriguing and looked cool in the magazine.  I'm going to wear this today.  

I'm off to get a hair cut... I'm going short again.  Love the pixie do... but fast-growing hair, I have to return often to keep it short. 

This afternoon I plan to straighten out the bead studio and work on some new projects.  I really want to do some of my own designing with seed beads but it's a little daunting.  Throwing together earrings or bracelets or necklaces with chain and beads is comfortable for me... if I don't like a design it can be taken apart quickly and re-worked. Designing cool ways for seed beads to be woven together will be a challenge for me.  From previous attempts, I know I will have to re-work and re-make the false starts... that's what has discouraged me before.  Am I up for it?  Well, I have patience and tenacity... so I think I'm up for it.