Wednesday, October 29, 2014


"A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself" ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

When I started this blog adventure, one of the first blogs I followed was Windrock Studio.  My reasons were simple.  She lives in Colorado and her posts are lovely, thoughtful, and from the heart.  And she and her guy make beautiful art.  From those humble beginnings, the roots of a friendship took hold.  My life has been forever changed by her kindness, humor, and sincerity.
She is Susan.
If you haven't been to her blog, you should go.  Her husband Larry makes clay people that ooze with personality.  How he captures the vibe of real people in these characters is the true artwork.  It must come from  years of observing people in their everyday environments.  Susan works primarily with fabrics and lace, adding ceramics, charms, branches, feathers, photos, whatever the artwork needs to be complete.  Quotes are used in the vast majority of Susan's pieces.  She will quote anyone, as long as the saying is relevant to the feeling of the work.
In the past, Susan worked with leather and made THE most beautiful bags (Go!  Look!  FRINGE!!!!!).  Recently, she has moved from leather into denim and is making bags that are functional art.  She took all that was good in her fabric wall hangings, her knowledge in how to make a good bag, added a lot of denim as the main support, a touch of those magical charms and details and quotes, and voila ~ Love Note Totes!
The girls and I received a surprise package back in June and this superlovinggoodness was in it :

 For The Sunshine Girl

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."  ~ Edith Wharton

That is the quote on the Love Note Tote Susan sent for the Sunshine Girl.

From the day it arrived, Sunshine has kept a book in it, along with chapstick, a ponytail holder, and occasionally her eyeglass case.  When it is not out and about, it is right where I photographed it ~ in her room, on a hook, waiting for the next outing.

We love this sweet back pocket!

Sunshine Girl loves tiny things and this was right up her alley :-)

For The Bug

This is what Susan sent the Bug...this quote is PERFECT for her personality.  And the photo is too! The little piece of antler dangling off the strap is the added touch that completes this  bag.  The Bug loves this bag and really loved the thought of someone whom she has never met took the time to make this for her :-)

For Me

I got a little teary when I opened my bag.  There were a few reasons.  The quote is one I live by, though I never heard it until this tote.  I am shaped by what I love...not external pressures of trends, finances, or keeping up with the Jones'.  The Garden of the Gods, the rocks in this picture, is one of my favorite places to go to in Colorado.  When guests would come visit me when I lived in Colorado, it was an easy place to get to so they could see something beautiful but walk easily as they acclimated to the altitude.   That would usually be a Day 1 place.  I saved higher elevations and more strenuous walks for later in the week :-) The lace leaves...I love leaves the most.  Flowers are Lovely but give me leaves any day!!!  And the last teary reason was in the receiving of something that had come from Susan's warm, loving hands.
I keep beading books, beading magazines, beading supplies in mine.  And a book of Leonard Cohen Poetry :-)

If these three beauties weren't enough. Susan included beads, feathers (! i love them like i love leaves !),  couple ceramic leaves made by Larry, and a few copies of the Pikes Peak Bulletin.  Larry is the editor for that newspaper.  The handwritten note meant as much to me as the Love Note Totes ~ there is something about seeing someone's handwriting that excites me so!  

Please take sometime to go see what makes Windrock Studio so special.  It feels like home...the kind of home with the sun shining in every window, a whisper of a breeze blowing through the front porch, and a welcoming warm hug that greets you just as your eye catches the margarita pitcher. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Wayne County, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Route 23
Sussex County
New Jersey

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Life for Old Pieces

 Clearing out a former workspace at a snails pace, I have been finding a lot of jewelry that was once my Gram's.  Some are not worth keeping any longer, some will be given away, and some are disassembled and reassembled with a bit of weaving.  There was a bracelet with a lot of tiny beads glued to it.  A lot of beads were missing, but the piece had these links and clasp that were definitely worth saving.  I loved the warm brassy color of the links.  But had a color scheme in mind and decided to follow Hope's Pinning with a Purpose lead and try to get a patina.  No patina the first time around.  Nor the second.  So I decided to change my colors and appreciate the stability of these metal links.  I will be trying the patina with other metal pieces I have.  I want to see the magic!

 I debated putting pearls on each black AB square, but the girls said it was overkill and to keep it simple.  I wanted it to fit like a watch and it does.  I might add one more link, but overall...not bad!

This filigree brooch was bought at an antique store...ridiculous considering the amount of jewelry I already have  and the price tag it held, but I had to have it.  And the old man who owns the store is smitten with me and I with him and I can never walk out of there empty handed.  He doesn't haggle.  I am not much of a haggler anyway.  But he does give me a teeny discount for living local :-) 

As soon as I saw it in the display case at the store, I knew it needed a zigzag stitch.  I was going to do it in turquoise, but when I finally started working on it, it really resisted the turquoise and wanted red.  After posting a photo on Facebook of it as a work in progress, a friend asked for it.  YaY!  

I popped the pin off the back and wrapped the loop down.  The hinge that held the pin needs to be filed a bit, as it is a tad sharp.  I was hesitant to cut those parts entirely off for two reasons...first, I didn't trust myself to not botch the whole piece (and I paid too much to botch it!); and second, it is to keep a little whisper of its past life ~ on the backside where so few will ever see it.  It is good to remember what things once were.

I bought cuff links at the same time I bought the brooch (and just found cuff links on Thursday that were my Grandpa's.....sigh), as I had a vision for them too.  I paid more than I think I should have, but hopefully they will work out.  I have a simple plan for them.  I think they will be next on the table.  And after that...who knows?!  It just feels good to get a jewelry post up again :-D

Friday, October 17, 2014

Coming Down to What Makes Me Happy

We all start somewhere, then start again and again in the crafts we like to make.
I started with stringing beads.  We were gearing up to drive to Alaska.  I knew I needed something to pass the time. I knew I would look out the window most hours, but I needed something else just in case I had sensory overload (HA!  Never when I am out where there are few-to-zero people!).  So I bought seed beads and thread and decided to learn to string.  I bought a harmonica too and a "How to Play Harmonica" book.  I started the trip from Boulder and didn't even make it to Cheyenne before I was told to put it away or lose it out the window.  So beads it was!  Though most of the beads I bought ended up on the floor of the Suburban.  Ever bead on the Alcan Highway?  Doesn't work so well.

Dad and I laying on the Alcan Highway...because we could! 

After Alaska, the beading stuck.  I got a loom and failed.  I got bolo tie stuff and got crippled by lack of weaving skills.  So I kept on stringing.  I got married and had kids and kept on stringing.  Then one day, I signed up for a wire working class.  I sucked at it.  I mean, really sucked.  I was bummed because I really wanted to make it my thing.  The very next hour was a weaving class.  I decided to give it a try.  Brick and Ladder, baby!  Ladder stitched bugle beads with seed beads brick stitched on either side of them.  I did that for weeks, changing sizes, colors, types.  So I signed up for herringbone then peyote.  I took a lot of classes in a short period of time.  Then back to wire because the weaving really boosted my confidence.  I sucked.  I practiced at home.  I sucked.  Then I did a bit with sheet metal.  Very Bad.  Then polymer.  Bad.  But I ran out and got all the needed supplies and practiced for a month.  Bad bad bad.

There was a big lull in weaving recently.  While taking some time off from it, I hit the antique stores and the shore and got old jewelry to give new life to and rocks and shells and glass and driftwood to make into jewelry.  Something about blending weaving with an old brooch and weaving and pearls with a rock excites me.  I love to weave, I love to string.  I love to make affordable pieces.  I found my thing pretty early on and with each disastrous class and practice thereafter, my love for beading and stringing was confirmed.  I still have a lot to learn.  I need more RAW practice, though I doubt it will ever be my go-to stitch.  I may dabble a bit in bead embroidery.  Cynthia gave me a start with that.  Not loving it, but ya never know.  Maybe I will try the loom again since I have more of an understanding of weaving now. Exploring more about weaving and stringing...good goal for the future.  I will enjoy someone else's wire work, metal work, and polymer!

***If you would like to join us for A Time To Stitch Six, please do!  Sign ups end today (but we are flexible :-)  After all, it's just beads!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Time To Stitch 6 : Sign Ups October 10-17

A Time To Stitch SIX sign ups are here!  WOO HOO!!!  Therese and I decided that in Season Six, the participants will use charts to weave their beaded pieces.  We will have the reveal on January 10, 2015.

You can choose from any chart out there in BeadWeavingLand ~ picture graph, word, charts that result in 3-dimensional pieces.  Use peyote, square, brick, or RAW stitch in your work.  Simple rules.  The challenge will be in following the chart!

Amy from Amybeads is graciously allowing us to refer you to her picture graph charts.  She made most of them for Bead-It-Forward, an annual project that takes 2" x 2" squares and makes them into quilts, shadowboxes, and ornaments then auctions them off.  The money raised goes to breast cancer charities. It was started by Jeanette Shannigan and is now run by Amy.  If you decide to use Amy's graph charts, please consider donating them to the Bead-It-Forward project.  Guidelines for Bead-It-Forward are found here.  The theme for 2015 Bead-It-Forward is Animals:Wild about Finding a Cure.

Here are two of Amy's many picture graphs :

In the badge for this hop ~ at the top of this page ~ are examples of word charts and dimensional creations made using charts.  Feel free to explore any of the options that work for you, just use a chart :-)

Therese also suggested using Bead Tool 4, a computer program that allows you to make your own charts.  That could have some pretty cool end results, so check it out!

When you sign up, Please include your Name, E-Mail, Blog Address.

You can sign up here or over at Therese's Blog.

We are looking forward to this one!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Sussex County
New Jersey
Route 23

*to find out why/how this series started, click here

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Wheely Fun Jewelry Challenge

Janet from Honey from the Bee asked a handful of us Bead Ladies if we would participate in her Wheely Fun Challenge.  Heck, yeah!  So of course, no before photos from me, as that never crosses my mind.  But I am sure some of the other ladies were on the ball and took a photo of what Janet sent.  It was a wooden mini-wheel...smaller than a real wagon wheel but a bit bigger than a tinker toy wheel.

When it arrived in the mail in a package with some other bead treasures, I saw one thing only...a wheel.  I could not seem to allow my mind to make it into anything else but a wheel.  So, a wheel it stayed.  
                                              Ghost of the Gold Rush 
                                            wagon wheel, to be precise.  

I went to work on it and used Darn Good Yarn Silk Cloud thread for the center spokes.  For the weathered wooded outer rim of the wheel, I used a grey suede ribbon Cynthia gave me a while back.  I put gold tone hex cut beads on the rusty spokes.  After some back and forth with a buffalo head pin, I opted to use an antique, worn, gold tone pin I found at an antique store near my house.  It didn't detract from the wheel and it lent itself to the theme of my wheel.  

I just realized now how much slack is in the loop with the pin in these photos, but when it hangs, there is no seen in this photo I took with my phone and sent to Cynthia when I was still pondering a few wheely things : 

Thank you Janet!  This was a lot of fun and a true challenge as to how to present the wheel.  

Please go on over to see what our hostess and the other participants made.