Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of Year Super Sale...

When I updated my Shop with the new section devoted solely to skulls, I realized that I needed more room. I've got so many treasures just waiting to be posted, but BigCartel limits shops to a maximum of 100 items. So, I'm going to try and make some room!

I've deeply discounted items throughout my Shop. (Up to 60% in some cases!) I even created a separate Sale Section for ease of browsing. CLICK HERE to go to the On Sale section. It's there that you'll see I've slashed prices drastically.

To ring in the New Year right, there's also an ADDITIONAL promotional code to receive 5% off of EVERYTHING! It's not just in the sale section, but across the board. It's a small thank you, conveying my sincerest gratitude for all of the continued support. THANK YOU! All you have to do to redeem the code at the time of Check Out. The code is: "resolution".

The Shadow King...

I was going to wait awhile before I posted this, but I couldn't wait any longer! I'm just pleased with how it turned out. Hopefully the person it is intended to go to will enjoy it as well. Below is my latest creation, a necklace I've titled, "The Shadow King".
I used a mix of different materials and textures to achieve this look. "Opulence", "luxury", and "richness" are the buzz words I was going after. I used cascades of garnet, Swarovski crystals, sapphires, black tourmaline, onyx and "velvet ruby quartz" to attempt to capture this decadent vibe.

To go with the draped and dripping crystals and gemstones, I incorporated gunmetal chain. The dark-toned metal goes well with dark value tones of the reds and blacks. I used a fire-polished shibuichi toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios to pull it all together and used an Egyptian crystal to punctuate this edgy statement.

Acting as a little bit of contrast, I worked with striking copper wire, hints of gold wire, and bits of bright bronze.

Above are some detail shots of the new necklace. The focal is made up of a ceramic skull by Lisa Peters Art and a bronze crown from Candice Wakumoto. I love how the roughness plays off the faceted and very "bling" onyx and crystal.

Lisa's skulls, all one-of-a-kind, ceramic works of mini-art have been recently added to the new Skull Shop department in my shop. I've devoted a whole section to just skulls! With Lisa's ceramic pieces are also works by Lea Anne Hartman, Candice Wakumoto, Bob Burkett, and anonymous fair trade wood and bone carvers. Make sure to check out the new Skull Shop on my Online Shop to see everything! CLICK HERE to take a look!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The holiday season has been flying by. It seems like it was summer only moments ago. The warm sun was on my face. Somewhere there was Thanksgiving and not far after that was the Winter Solstice and Christmas. Now it is bitter cold. And here I am, on the verge of a New Year. So much has changed and continues to change. I feel as though I'm in a daze.
For our Christmas Eve lunch, I made a papaya and cantaloupe salad with a chili and lime dressing and Greg made Ahi Tuna. Sweet, tangy, and a little bit spicy, this meal was perfectly light and refreshing.

For Christmas Eve dinner, I made a turkey meat loaf (wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a maple glaze), some fingerling potatoes, and we made some freshly crisped up crostini. Slathered on the crostini were healthy portions of garlic and herb goat cheese spread. Nothing says "comfort food" quite like a meatloaf.

When everyone went to bed and in between some of my projects, I whipped up an apple tarte tartin. I used some ginger gold apples for maximum flavor. The apples were coated in a glistening carmel, the spongey cake absorbed the decadent apple-infused syrup, and the (dye-free) pistachio gelato lent a sweet nuttiness and smooth creaminess. It was a totally rich and decadent treat before bed.

I awoke to the sound of Cynthia and Greg discussing the weather, which had just cleared up. Apparently it was our opportunity to make a break for Ohio to see Greg's family. The plans had originally been scrubbed due to bad weather. Finding out that I'd be in Ohio also stirred the plan to inch my way back home to neighboring Pennsylvania. (My car is still broken down and it has been months since I've been home.)

We arrived in Ohio with enough time to prepare our beds and say goodnight. I-40 was closed in sections due to rock slides and we were forced to take detours and we came in pretty late. In the morning we went to the Original Pancake House. I had a Dutch Baby. It's basically an inflated pancake, doused in powered sugar, whipped butter and lemon. Look at the fork shown to the right of the plate for scale of just how BIG it was. Regardless of size, I polished it off like a pro.

After breakfast, they took me to Jungle Jim's. I've never been, so I didn't know fully what to expect. From what I was being told, it sounded too good to be true. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised that the mega-purveyor lived up to the hype!

Jungle Jim's is simply put: Part international foodie wet dream and part amusement park. (Seriously, what regular grocery store has a monorail?) One can see anything from Kiwano Horned Melons, to the animatronic Cereal Bowl Band, to mini pineapples, to recreations of Sherwood forest vaulted above the English food section. Although it was a little overwhelming, it was also definitely a delight for all the senses.

One of my favorite sections was the beer section. Here they had all manner of beers divided up by region. I recognized beers from all over the world, all readily available. We chose an Apricot Wheat from the Ithaca Beer Company. "Apricot Wheat" sums up the refreshing blend of fruity and creamy. Needless to say, it was tasty!

Upon leaving Jungle Jim's, it started to snow. My stomach sank as I had booked a bus ticket back to Pennsylvania later in the evening. The bus was delayed, but I eventually got on the road.

It has been years since the last time I was on a Greyhound. The last time I was on one, was after high school. I made a trip across the country to see my grandparents and to hang out with some of my friends scattered throughout the midwest. I still remember the characters that I sat next to. Some were scary, some were sweet, but what I remember most was that we were all traveling together. It felt almost as though we were pilgrims – wayfarers – on the road each with a destination.

I finally made it back home.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
There is still plenty of time to make some New Year's Eve jewelry! Lisa shares an eye catching bracelet using velvety hearts and chandelier-like egyptian crystals. Jewelry Making
Yellow faceted CZ fan pendants become gorgeous earrings with just a little chain.

Art Bead Scene
It's the ABS annual 12 days of Christmas free projects. Twelve days of last minute holiday gifts!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Eco Friendly Gift Wrap

Beading Arts
Sweet, simple, and silly! Make a barrette that will delight a young girl in your life.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi makes huge resin baubles from an ice tray.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares her favorite things this week. You might be surprised to find out what they are!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie makes a chunky, funky necklace with some unusual wooden chain and findings

Jean Campbell
Jean shares a free sparkly necklace project, just in time to whip up for your New Year's Evening wear

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei goes back in time to remind fellow Etsy sellers about Heart-o-Matic!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean offers a project called Supercool which features a great focal by Dustin Tabor!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shares some whimsical lampwork artistry by Debi Cogwell.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Using a drilled resin piece from Lynn Davis and some filigree, Andrew creates a necklace paying homage to the faeryworld sanctuaries.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quick Dinner...

Cynthia and I went out to do a little bit of last minute Christmas shopping. I don't really celebrate Christmas anymore, but A.C. Moore had a fantastic "bad weather" coupon that could not be refused. I got Max and Azalea some small gifts and I got myself a pasta machine for polymer clay that I've been coveting for awhile now. While at the craft store, we picked up the launch issue of a new Canadian magazine called, Metal Clay Artist Magazine. It looks like it has a lot of potential.

We also went to Barnes and Noble to pick up some more gifts. It was needless to say, nightmarish. The traffic was supremely intense and the parking lot overflowing. We found what we needed and headed back as quickly as possible.

We were still later in coming back than we thought we'd be. So, Greg and I whipped up a quick dinner. I roasted the Russian Banana fingerling potatoes and battered, double-dredged, and deep fried the tilapia. The potatoes, although flavored with garlic and rosemary, were still sweet and buttery. The fish was crunchy on the outside, moist and flakey on the inside, and surprisingly flavorful. Greg roasted the asparagus and made tartar sauce from scratch. It was a good dinner.

A Whole Lotta Andrew by Meg Reilley...

The talented Meg Reilley came by today with the images from the photo-shoot. Wow is she a wizard with a camera! We were all very happy with the results. Below are some of the images of me. I'll let Cynthia post the pictures of the rest of the family.

I feel like if I were ever to make a break for Hollywood, this would be the headshot I'd carry out there. LA here I come!

I jest, but I think she made me look good. At first I was concerned that I would look like a tree-hugger, but I like how the rough surface of the tree bark makes my face look super smooth! It's like I got an instant facelift by comparison.

I don't know why, but that song by Stevie Nicks called "Edge of Seventeen" comes to mind when I see this one. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Believe it or not, I'm camera shy. Even though I'm at peace with myself and I've made a truce with my many scars and flaws, there's still a little voice in the back of my head that tells me to get out of in front of the camera lens. I admire bloggers like Nina Bagley and Jane Ann Wynn who post images of themselves on regular basis.

Here's the last picture of me... I promise. But I wanted to put up this last picture, because I like how the lens and frame of the picture arches my already arching eyebrow a little higher.

If you like Meg's work and want to learn more about the inner workings of this fine example of a working photographer, check out her blog. CLICK HERE to visit it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Today was one of those days with a little bit of everything thrown in. Early in the day we cleaned up and I took some pictures of some beads that I'll be uploading to my shop shortly. Afterwards, Meg Reilley (the photographer who shot the photo of Cynthia in the back of Enchanted Adornments) and Alisa of Lucky Design 7 came over to do some family portraits and some headshot photos for the revamped Green Girl Studios website. It was good to see them, though it was required of me to go out into the snow... which was not my favorite thing.

Once Meg and Alisa left, Azalea and I got out our jewelry kits and I made some earrings, that I'll hopefully post in the shop tomorrow. I think they're pretty cool and they definitely have a Steampunk vibe.

Heading into dinner, I finished up some paperwork and some revisions. Guess what we had for dinner? Smorgasbord! We love a smorgasbord! I think it comes from a love of exploring different tastes and textures, not necessarily just filling up. Our smorgasbord included fresh fruit (ginger apples, grapes and strawberries), crustini, coconut shrimp, steak, membrillo, and an assortment of cheeses (Manchego, Edam, Smoked Gouda and Jarlsberg). It was a lovely little feast!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Attack of Azalea...

Azalea's classes ended this past Friday, which has provided her ample opportunity to ham it up for her Uncle Andrew. To the left is a photo of Azalea sporting an octopus mask that curiously looks like it belongs in Doctor Who or was dreamed up by H.P. Lovecraft.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Lisa shares a special gift she received from a friend, SHRINKY DINK earrings!! Still a great product after all these years!! Jewelry Making
Sparkle plenty with this endless knotted red crystal necklace project!

Art Bead Scene
It's the last ABS monthly challenge of 2009. Are you running out of ideas and inspiration? ABS has just the antidote!

Beading Arts
If you can string stone nuggets onto wire, and if you can crochet a simple chain stitch, then you can make this pretty necklace.

Carmi's Art/Life World
One shrunk sweater equals felted beaded mits for me!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy explains why she chose Lee Krasner's painting "Untitled" for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei tested out some cool chain from Rings and Things.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Would you like to investgate a lyrical book which explores all areas of your imagination and challenges your creativity? Try Lisa Crone's!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shares a cute find - sterling silver elephant clasps.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Thinking deep thoughts, Andrew offers up a sumptuous bracelet and adds a new bronze charm to his shop.

Fruit Jellies...

Growing up in Florida meant that there was an abundance of citrus. The winter heralded the sweetest fruit, picked after the first cold snap. Now that I'm an adult and far from Florida, (where it truly gets cold and often times the winter months are bleak) a little bit of citrus is just what the doctor ordered to add a touch of vibrancy. My mom gave me some pomelos while I was in Florida and Cynthia had some ruby red grapefruit and some oranges that needed to be used, so I made what we call a "fruit jelly." I embedded peeled slices of grapefruit and pomelo in fresh orange juice gelatin. I juiced a pomegranate and used the liquid to help give color.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Miserable Beauty...

A new wrench has been thrown in to thwart my efforts to return home – SNOW! It started snowing last night and hasn't stopped.

Yesterday it looked like the above photo on the left. Today it looks like the above photo on the right. The Star Deck is coated in at least five inches of snow! As many of you know, I'm not the biggest fan of snow.

Sure, it can be beautiful, but it's a miserable beauty. The cold makes my bones ache and my head throb. So, it looks as though we're stuck in the house for awhile until the snow lets up.

I have been enjoying the patterns that the branches make, heavy with snow in a pencil-line tracery of gray against white.

Another nice thing is that we've all been enjoying watching the birds at the feeders. I am glad that we have food out for them. I imagine that it requires a great deal of fuel to fly. So it is nice that they have an oasis in the sea of white, to stop and feed for awhile without worry.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dreamy Baby...

My car broke down on my way back from Florida and I've been stranded here in Asheville ever since. Fixing cars is totally not in my repertoire. I shudder to think about how much it's going to cost to fix the car. The silver-lining is that I've been able to spend time with my family – especially Azalea and the new addition, Max. He's adorable! Azalea is a good big sister, but I think it'll take time for her to master the concept of not waking him up. It's understandable though; the impulse to squeeze on his big cheeks and gush over his dreamy cuteness is strong.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Forget Me Not Bracelet...

Here's a new bracelet that I created that I absolutely adore. I love how everything came together and how the warm tones are just right. The bracelet is supremely comfortable to wear and just drapes around the wrist seamlessly. (I know it's tacky to gush about your own work, but I'm just a smitten kitten with this new piece!)

I used Swarovski crystals and crystal pearls from Fusion Beads, brass cable chain from Ornamentea, a shibuichi toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios, and a bronze charm I made. This was a really quick project, but could easily be added to and expanded upon. (Some Candice Wakumoto charms might work nicely with it, especially the skull cross charm.)

Above is another shot of the bracelet. Being with my family and thinking about my brother has prompted me to think a lot about what remains. What remains when someone's gone – a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a year, a millennium? Does a smile linger? Will the ringing of their laughter echo? Whether they've left for work or left your life, what will stay? It may sound a little morbid, but I'm fascinated with the concept of the ephemeral, memory, and the things we carry. Kind of like "Memento Mori" except more: Remember Life.

If you like the mini bronze skull charm, I've added several to my shop. CLICK HERE to take a look. I love how they are totally handmade and all the little imperfections like my fingerprints on the backs or the hewn edges really add to the charm and infuse each one with a rustic element and ancient feeling. It is fitting for such an iconic and archetypal symbol.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Jean Campbell nominated me for the Superior Scribbler Award. CLICK HERE to see her original post. I am deeply honored by this little award. Normally I don't put much stock in these types of things, but coming from such an accomplished designer and writer... I'm really touched. Jean Campbell is an inspiration and has really propelled the beading world to where it is today with her tireless efforts. So I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Jean and all her hard work. You rock, Jean Campbell!

(However much I admire Jean, I unfortunately decline passing this award on. Not because there aren't several people who I respect and enjoy following, but because there are just too many people deserving of this honor, I'm pressed for time, and I'm not into the "spam-like" qualities of blog awards. Sorry!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
If you find yourself in need of a quick holiday gift, don't overlook memory wire! With this simple design, you can make one for all your friends.

Thinking of making some beaded ornament covers? Then you'll need to know the size bulb to use too.

It's the first day of Art Bead Scene's annual Twelve Days of Free Projects!

Barbe gets all steamy over the new Steampunk Style book!

Cyndi shares a new tutorial featuring one of Earthenwood Studio's fabulous new pendants!

Carmi wonders if anyone else is working on Spring.

Inspired by Grandma's necklace, Cindy creates an edgey look with CZ's.

Melanie shows a sneak peek of a pair of earrings she made for the upcoming book Steampunk Style by Jean Campbell.

Jean shares 3 easy tips for making holiday gift production a little less stressful.

Katie's making tons of earrings this season. Here are a few fun ideas for your own last-minute gifts!

Lorelei is saying Thank you and Merry Christmas by giving away a gift certificate to!

When you check out this ornament kit which is available for you to make, it will REALLY put you in the spirit!

Each representing a different spectrum of lampwork glass, Andrew shares the new additions to his bead collection from two talented artists.


I think that in the course of having this blog and interacting with others in the blogosphere, a lot of rumors and myths have arisen about me. They are not necessarily negative or bad, they just are made more of fantasy than reality. I've kept a list of these things that either people have asked me, said about me, or that I've overheard. I'd like to take this moment to dispel some of those myths.

1. I'm not independently wealthy. As much as I wish I were, I'm sadly not. In fact, I'm woefully in debt from student loans and poor financial planning early on. It may seem like I'm living some glamorous life, traveling around the country and making things all the time, but I travel for work and usually the things I make are for sale and not just for the pure enjoyment of making something.

2. I don't sit around and eat and make things all day. Again, I wish this one were true. I would love to just create, indulging in making things and enjoying lots of yummy food, but I engage in more drudgery than most people imagine (and my diet usually consists of carrots, coffee, and slapdash sandwiches and quick pasta). Much of my time is committed to paperwork, deadlines, and trying to fish out different opportunities for my work. The latter is the most difficult. I am lucky that I have the support of my family, friends, and loved ones.

3. Speaking of loved ones, I'm not single. With that said, I'm fiercely protective of my privacy. Some people flaunt their wealth, and others, like me, horde their valuables and hide them away from the world like a dragon.

4. I live in Pennsylvania now. I know it doesn't seem like I post about my new home very much, and for good reason – I'm on the road a lot and haven't been there very much. I would love to be able to settle in and nest in earnest, but this relates to the first myth about me not being independently wealthy.

5. I'm not a wise, old sage. I'm not enlightened and am 100% flawed human. I am far from perfect. I laugh loudly, I cry, I yell, I fight, I curse, and I like the occasional beer. I have scars on the inside and on the outside, I've got messed up teeth and I have bad acne. Busted as I am, I'm okay with it all. I've come to realize that every scar has a story.

6. I don't think that you have to go to an art school to be an artist. Had someone asked me that my freshman year of art school, I might have disagreed. But after having gone through the higher education process, I realize that no amount of schooling can teach passion. And if a person is passionate about seeing and making, all the classes and credits are just a formality. Life is the best teacher, and if someone is serious, the world is laden with lessons.

7. I'm not religious. Believe it or not, at one point I was a board member of a church, but those were different days. Oddly enough this demystification has a lot to do with the previous one and with the third in this list. I am staunchly protective of my thoughts on the spiritual, but if you're really interested in hearing what I think – take a look at one of my paintings. It's all there.

8. I don't hate Christi Anderson. I don't know where this rumor started, since I've only had one exchange with her, but I don't hold any ill-will towards her. (I really don't have any ill-will towards anyone come to think of it.) Perhaps it's because I work with my family who owns a metal-smith based company and she also works with metal, and sometimes drama and gossip are proliferated in niche communities? I find this funny because some of my favorite people are also involved in the metal community and I think that there's room for everyone.

9. I don't hate feet. While they aren't my favorite things, I actually did a series of "foot studies" for a drawing class. I think that the origin of this was in a blog post I made about keeping promises. Basically I said that I wouldn't make any grandiose promises that I knew I couldn't keep; I did promise never to take pictures of my feet and post pictures of them on my blog. (I have been successful in keeping this promise.)

10. I'm not 147 years old as some of my profiles might suggest. The mystery of why I don't reveal my age boils down to three things: 1. I was the victim of malicious identity theft when I was first starting out and for several months couldn't even get a phone line installed. 2. It's a tradition my mother started. 3. It's another label people use to pigeonhole others. I'd rather someone judge me on my accomplishments and merits, the deeds I've done, rather than an abstract number attached to imaginary expectations of how someone should act and what they have done or haven't done. This was particularly problematic earlier on when I was applying for jobs and despite my credentials and experience was turned down in favor of individuals who looked the part.

Well, I think that those ten things are a good start to demystifying the fiction that has surfaced since I've started blogging and is a little bit closer to the real me. It's important for me to be genuine. I am a real person who struggles, fails and makes small triumphs like everyone else.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Play Date...

Kathy Van Kleeck was over again for a play date. Not only did we have a delicious lunch (Cynthia made Chicken Adobo with rice and Greg made banana bread and homemade fudge), but we got to play with some CopprClay afterwards. I really like Kathy. She makes good work, is straightforward, and extremely knowledgeable about fashion and good design. I come away with a head full of ideas after our visits! Not only did Kathy bring over lots of fun stories and a long list of links that I absolutely have to explore, but she also brought Cynthia and I a bagful of goodies – a plethora of beach glass and African recycled glass beads. I can't wait to make something with them.

I was also pleased with the visit, because I was able to make a lot of things. Sometimes I find the best way to motivate yourself to work is to surround yourself with other creative individuals. The studio can be a lonely place sometimes. Surrounding yourself with other artists who you respect and admire is a great way to stay fresh, test out ideas, and just have fun with.

New Lampwork Glass Treasures...

One of the first beads I coveted were the candy-like pieces by Patti Cahill of Dyed in the Fire. Patti was set up next to Cynthia and Sheila in Maitland. I remember that my mom kept trying to make Patti eat the egg rolls my mom made. I have been a long time fan of Patti's work before I even knew what "lampwork" meant. Her colorist beads are modern, saccharine, and utterly delightful!

Above are a handful of colorful and vibrant pretties I picked up while I was in Orlando. I've been eying her Miami Capri Pants color scheme for awhile now. I am happy to add it to my collection! CLICK HERE to visit her Etsy shop.

I am quite pleased with these new additions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank You...

I just wanted to send out a little thank you to everyone who left comments and wrote privately in response to my post about my trip to Florida. Thank you.

It means so much to me that I am able to share some of my most personal aspects of my life. When I started this blog years ago, I couldn't have anticipated what a supportive and encouraging community I would encounter. I feel truly blessed to be able to share my road with others.

I Won...

I read on Iviva Olenick's blog that she was participating in an art auction benefiting BECA (Bridge for Emerging Contemporary Art). I placed a bid, not thinking that I would win, and was surprised to read on her blog that I did indeed win! I feel so fortunate to add to my little collection of Iviva's brilliant work. CLICK HERE to find out more about BECA and HERE to visit Iviva's blog and see the latest projects she's working on.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I am finally back from a show in Orlando. On the way down, I stopped at Anne Choi's place. I had a great time seeing her and her kittens and chatting until late into the night. I not only marvel at her talent, but at all the cool treasures she has collected. Her home is a magpie's dream come true!

The show was dotted with several familiar faces and it was good to see them. During my time there, it was also nice to hang out with one of my best friends during my free time. I've known Jennifer since we were ten years old. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since we were playing in the mud and (accidentally) burning down plastic playhouses. The spirit of the children we used to be is alive and well though; we have a knack of making each other laugh... a lot.

While I was down in my old hometown, I tried to see as many people as I could. One of the folks that I was fortunate enough to meet up with was my dear friend, Sam. She's the only person to call me a variation of my name that I respond to. She calls me, "Drew". I don't know how that came to happen, but she's the only one who has ever been able to abbreviate my name and have it stick. (It's stuck for over a decade.) She was also the person to introduce me to a lot of science fiction and open a universe of possibilities. We talked for hours about Steampunk, Joss Whedon, and Stargate. It was good to reconnect.

Above is a picture of Sam, me, and Jennifer. We had coffee at a coffeehouse near the university called, NaturaCoffee. An obliging college student snapped the picture of us.

Also while I was in Orlando, I got to hang out with Cathy Dailey and her husband, Steve. Both of them were so generous with their time. We had yummy Thai food for lunch. Above is a shot of her studio and jewelry station and a few pieces that she's just finished (or is still working on). Make sure to check out the online shop and her Etsy page. I had so much fun getting to know them and their business better. That's definitely one of the perks of doing the shows – meeting people and forming bonds over creativity.

I found a box hidden under the bed in my old room filled with pictures, letters, notes, and various pieces of my personal history. Above is a picture taken in kindergarten of me dressed up like an indian in a costume I made out of a pillowcase on a handmade Christmas tree ornament. Long before Enchanted Adornments came out, Cynthia made the book on the right for me. In it, we both drew pictures of elves, faeries and monsters. I was reminded of some of Azalea's drawings when I saw my own.

I also found a scrap of the shirt my brother, Dwayne, gave me before he disappeared. The shirt was dark blue and had the word "NAVY" printed in white. For all I act nonchalant and unaffected by it, his leaving was probably one of the most profound and defining events of my life. Not only did I loose my brother and role model, but that's when my mother learned to shout, when the silence at the dinner table became uncomfortable, and my father's militant ways relented under the pressure of doubt and regret. In a lot of ways, that was the unmaking of our family. Loss and unknowing created distance between us all.

An almost twenty year old wound reopened. The gush of hurt was staunched by the knowledge that in our own way, we've remade our family. We have a handmade family now. Max and Azalea are blissfully ignorant of that old distance. They are a new generation, where scraps of blue fabric have lost their meaning and are no longer reminders of things and people now long gone.

On my way back to Asheville, the car overheated and broke down. I was thirty miles short of reaching my destination. Freezing rain was pouring down and I got drenched. Awhile later the car got towed. It seemed like an impossibly long day. All I could do was sleep today I was so exhausted. The weekend definitely had its highlights, but I feel beat up.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Good Company...

I'm here in Orlando for the Bead Mercantile show at the Maitland Civic Center. The delightful Patti Cahill of Dyed in the Fire is set up next to me. It's good to see her and her new work. I love her ornaments and timbles. If you're in the area, definitely come out to say hello to me at the Green Girl Studios booth and do make sure to check out Patti's work next door. For those of you not fortunate enough to be down here in Florida, check out Patti's work on her Etsy site. CLICK HERE to go to her shop.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Beneath and Beyond...

I'm headed back on the road again. Later this afternoon I'm off to Florida for the Bead Mercantile show this weekend at the Maitland Civic Center in the Orlando area. I believe that this is the last trade show of the year for my family at Green Girl Studios. Do make sure to come out and say hello if you're in the area! Hopefully along the way I'll get to stop in Atlanta and visit with the very talented Anne Choi. I always enjoy my visits with her. I had a delightful time seeing her in Oakland at the BABE show.

I always find it strange going back to my hometown. Often times so much has changed that it hardly seems like the Florida I used to know. It's kind of like the places I used to run wild through, picking berries and playing pretend are merely playing make believe themselves and are dressed up in costumes with the real sand and earth hidden underneath. New strip malls and subdivisions with their neatly trimmed shrubs are just masks. The old places are still there, laying quietly beneath and beyond.

A Visit with Kathy Van Kleeck...

We had the delightful pleasure of having Kathy Van Kleeck over for a short visit today. Kathy is an extraordinary jewelry designer and a magician with metal clay. She was generous enough to bring along some of her work to show us the various projects she's made. Cynthia and I were both in awe of her enchanted looking wands, books, boxes, tiaras and modern reliquaries rendered in metal clay and studded with beach glass, sapphires, rubies and rough-cut diamonds. What a treat! Kathy isn't afraid of experimentation and her work captures that curious spirit.
Above is a picture of Max, Cynthia, Kathy and Azalea sitting on the couch posing for the picture. It was so nice to talk with another artisan, especially one as genuine as Kathy. I love her direct approach and the soulful expressions that result.

Look at the lovely treasures that Kathy gave me. Beach glass shards capped and sandwiched between fine silver. I'm totally going to make a talisman necklace using these pieces just for me.

Make sure to check out her blog, her Etsy page, and her newly launched website.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Slice of Heaven...

Cynthia introduced me to a little slice of heaven here on Earth in Asheville called the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. They've got a lovely selection of truffles, chocolate bars, beer, wine, and my favorite: sipping truffles (aka super thick, rich hot chocolate). Another plus is that unlike my other favorite chocolatier here in Asheville (The Chocolate Fetish), there is ample seating room. I love people watching and this is definitely a great place to see as wide of a variety of people as the chocolates they serve (which is quite extensive). Besides the seating, selection, and great playlist, The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is committed to organic, fair trade ingredients and supporting local farmers and suppliers – that's so you can feel all socially conscious and aware while you indulge on that maple-flavored sipping truffle that's sprinkled ever so slightly with sea salt for an unexpected and delightful touch of savory in a molten mug of sweet deliciousness.

(To add to the long list of benefits, Counter Culture Coffee based out of Durham, NC is also served there!)

The Degenerate Craft Fair...

If I was back in good old New York City, I would definitely be attending and participating in the Degenerate Craft Fair. It's a simple equation that's positively gold: Brooklyn Brewery Sponsor + Crafts + Cool People = Good Time. It's the brainchild of artist, Amy Wilson, and is a really awesome idea and a great opportunity to get gifts for the holidays. CLICK HERE to check out their website and get the details of the launch party happening this Friday in Ridgewood (on the boarder of Brooklyn and Queens) at Silent Barn! Oh, don't forget the live performance by The Beets at 10PM.

Charm Club Update...

I'm almost sold out of spots in the Charm Club. There's only one spot left. CLICK HERE to find out more and CLICK HERE to sign up for your exclusive reservation. (Started working on the first charm already and it's pretty cool!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I drove all night and arrived safely Thanksgiving morning. The stretch right before dawn, when the black sky was just beginning to turn a charcoal grey tinged with dusty pinks and washed out ochre was the hardest. But I made it and shortly after indulged in a lovely meal with my family.

One of the highlights of this trip was meeting my new nephew, Max. He's such a cute baby. I look at his face and see a world of possibility written in his curious, big brown eyes.

Another highlight of the trip has been spending time with Azalea. We've been having fun. We made paper-bag puppets. The puppet she's holding up in the picture is of me - hairy Adam's apple and all.

It's true that we had a feast of delicious Thanksgiving dinner-items, but I also glutted myself on a feast of little happy moments.

Above is a picture of Max and Azalea sleeping together on the couch.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Smoke...

I am finally back from my travels... at least for a few days. I got to spend a lot of time chatting with some really excellent customers at the Williamsburg show. That's one of the perks of doing the trade shows. I get to meet people all across the country involved in a truly creative community. I am lucky to hear stories and share some of my own. It's true that being on the road, traveling from coast to coast can be disorienting and really hard, but I think the benefits out weigh the cons.

For a few days I'll be home and continue nesting. The process of settling in has been interrupted, but hopefully I'll be able to get a little bit more done before I head out to Asheville in a few days for Thanksgiving. I'm excited to see my new baby nephew! I can't wait to meet him and pinch his big cheeks and kiss on his little starfish hands.

I was on my way back from the bank (I had to get a new checking account at a bank that's not over 100 miles away), and out from the tape deck came black smoke and the smell of plastic. Luckily I was quick enough to eject the adaptor before it caught on fire while I was driving down the road. I am guessing that the adaptor and the older car stereo were a bad combination and created some kind of excessive friction. It must have been a glitch, because once the smoke cleared, I tried it again and it seemed to work fine. This is good. Traveling without my books on tape and music would definitely not be as fun.

As Seen On Art Bead Scene...

Art Bead Scene is such a great blog and features some really awesome artisan-made beads. I recently had the opportunity to act as a guest blogger and wrote about Ellen Steiber's article, The Lore of Gemstones. CLICK HERE to check it out. I was also fortunate enough to be a featured Designer of the Week. CLICK HERE to check that out. I just love Art Bead Scene!

The Charm Club...

I've only got a few spots left in The Charm Club. CLICK HERE to find out more about my limited edition project and CLICK HERE to claim your reservation in this exclusive club. I've got some really awesome ideas lined up for this round of charms!