Category Archives: Life

In the Pink…

Remember in the last post I mentioned special interest groups and what a large part they play in an online world these days? Well, today’s post is about another one of those groups and the person behind it. A group of us have been planning this “blog-out” for months, and who knew a group of chatty women could keep a secret when they are in and out of pages and groups and walls with the special person, day in and day out!

“In the Pink…” is a reference to one of my favorite people in this world: Lori Anderson of Lori Anderson Designs and the dynamo behind the Bead Soup Blog Party™ (and the soon-to-be-released book based on that HUGE online blog party.) Lori added pink streaks to her hair as a nod to her creative side and it suits her to a “T”. Check the bottom of the page for a photo of my homage to her fabulous pink hair!

This photo was taken in June at Bead & Button…Lori’s hair is longer now, and the pink is such a whimsical touch. I smile whenever I see it!

Let me back up….I have “known” Lori for years–online. I can’t even tell you when we “met”, but we’ve emailed and chatted online for years about making jewelry, books, our kids, and the ups and downs in our lives at different times. We had never actually laid eyes on each other til June in Milwaukee. I knew Lori was going to stop by my booth and yet when she did, it was still such a shock! We both squealed like 10-year-old girls who had stumbled on Justin Bieber concert tickets! I know we hugged and we might have done the jumping up and down thing, too. And then we crossed paths again in Philadelphia at BeadFest and I got to meet Zach, her son. I am as in awe of Lori, the mother, as I am of Lori, the writer and entrepreneur. Though our “real life” time adds up to a few hours, our time as friends adds up to so much more. I consider Lori one of my dearest friends.

A little about Lori

She gets more done than any 3 people I know! Lori is a talented jewelry designer whose work has been published in many magazines over the years. That’s an area that she encouraged me to pursue, as well, and I’m grateful for the nudge.

While I am always making deals with myself to blog more often, Lori is a wizard at it! She is generous with her ideas and suggestions. She coaches people and has written an ebook with blogging prompts to help those of us who struggle with that, and she practices what she preaches: blogging daily and more. Always looking for ways to encourage others to their own success.

That’s the premise behind this big blog party around “bead soup”, started by Lori  a few years ago. We just finished the 6th version of it with 400 participants over 3 different weekends. And because all of those participants (and more) from previous blog hops wanted ongoing connections after the  hop ended, Lori started a Facebook group called Bead Soup Cafe. There are now over 1100 of us (growing each day) who stop in (on Facebook) to hang out, share tips, promote our wares, exchange chitchat, ask questions, find great deals, and bridge the fact that most of us are miles and miles and even oceans away from each other. It’s the online equivalent of the kaffeklatch that my mother and her friends had…groups of friends getting together to share their days. It’s a far larger undertaking than I can imagine, and that’s where this blog hop to Lori comes in….a chance to thank her for all she does and for the great place she’s put together.

Thank you, Lori, for pinking up my life!

For more information on the Bead Soup Blog Party book and it’s concept, check out this link where you’ll meet Lori, too! (Check out the hair!)

And here’s my take on pink hair:


To read other stories from others participating in this hop, take a look at these blogs:

Gail Vanderster-Zwang

Lea Avroch

Leslie Wayment

Kelley Katherine Hagerty-Fogle

Sheila Davis

Amanda Effron

‎Solange Collin

Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten

Isolina Perez

Toltec Jewels

Sherri Stokey

Mary Howell Govaars

Bee Kuhlman

Lynnea Perry Bennett

Alicia Marinache

Heather Otto

Kimberly Flood

Courtney White Breul

Marlene Cupo

Marianne Baxter

Mária Horváth

Andrea Beth Trank

Heidi Mansfield Kingman

Emoke Schmidt

Sandra MrtzDiaz

Lupe Meter

Tanya Boden

Ambra Chicandfrog

Kumi Fisher

Sandra Young

Sandi Marinaro Volpe

Gretchen Nation

Mimi Gardner

Marian Hertzog

Sonya Ingersoll-Stille

Terry Matuszyk

Audrey Belangér

Sandra McGriff

Shelley Graham Turner

Mowse Doyle


Countdown to BeadFest Texas

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks (months) between travel to Colorado, a three-fold increase in book projects, and trying to get ready for my first Metal Me This show in Dallas (this coming weekend!).

I’m down to 72 hours left before my flight on Thursday and things are looking so-s0. Still lots and lots to do and some of it just isn’t going to get done.

The beadcaps that look the same color as the tray still need cleaning up, but in reality, that can happen on the plane or the night before the show, or during the 3 days of the show. And there’s bags and bags of ones already packaged up.

I’ve always been a master at multi-tasking and finding more productive ways of eking a few more hours out of a day…It’s when I have to leave my fate in the hands of others that things get dicey.

I’ve done numerous jewelry shows over the years and have enough display pieces for 2 to 3 eight-foot tables…unfortunately, only about 3 of those display pieces are useful with this new endeavor. So I knew I’d need to reconfigure things and come up with effective displays, that would travel well (e.g. flat and lightweight!).  No biggie…right? I found some perfect displays and was told they’d be done in plenty of time…and that’s the last I heard. (The downside of relying on someone else…actually two different “someone elses”…)

I’m staying with a bead friend north of Dallas this weekend. BJ generously opened her home to myself and two other friends who are traveling in for BeadFest. BJ also understood that the main focus of my sales were my handmade, etched beadcaps and that I needed something to effectively display the zillions (OK…that’s an exaggeration, but there are dozens and dozens of styles and sizes and slapping them in a big bowl like Halloween candy wasn’t an option!). She got the design specs out of me, refined them with her background in measuring stained glass, and recruited a retired neighbor to build me a couple of displays. Talk about the upside of relying on someone else! Here’s the result:

Add some cup hooks and some price signs plus rows and rows of bags of beadcaps…and it folds flat and is reasonably lightweight.

You can’t imagine my relief! The rest of the table set-up exists on my phone in a photo of little paper cutouts somewhat to scale…I’ll be winging it much more than I like, but thanks to BJ’s thoughtfulness and her handy neighbor, I’m on the right track!

I hope if you’re in the Dallas area, you’ll stop by booth 607 this Friday through Sunday at the Arlington Convention Center. Here’s a link for a free pass.

Free pass HERE.

Time to get back to the books…more production photos tomorrow maybe…

2011…Time for changes

Happy New Year!

One of my resolutions is to resurrect my blog. 2010 wasn’t a very good year for updates. Creativity ebbed more than flowed and life just got in the way.

Sales were off with the economy’s downturn and at some point I made a decision to add copper jewelry to the mix. It’s been a journey, and to be honest, it’s hard to say it’s been a success yet. Here are a couple of photos of what I’ve been up to. The copper rings have been fun to make and they are great for short bursts of creative time and energy. You can see a whole line of copper jewelry in my Etsy store.


But, I’ve started off the new year by finally setting up a dedicated work area (and reclaiming my kitchen table and window seat). My book design office is a 10×20 foot room, that could have been our 3rd garage stall (except that we only had one car when we built the house and 3 stalls seemed crazy). Half of that room has had a large corner computer desk setup intended to be a way to stay on top of my daughter’s computer use and for homework. She’s a senior and in no way interested in being in the same room as me for enough time to warrrant that dusty, neglected work area!

So…I spent much of the Christmas/New Years week clearing out stuff (to the garage…which is another story altogether…we have 2 garage stalls, 2 cars and only 1 fits in the garage). I decided the computer workstation could be a great work area…shelves, left and right hand space. There was already a side work table that became a clutter-catcher. Lots of space to fill, and boy, did I fill it!

As with all good makeover stories, there should be before and after photos. I ALWAYS remember that at the “After” part.  What I have are “In Progress” shots with sketchy light.

 The left side has magazines and books along with the finished Joolz travel cases. I’ve got some of my stash of lampwork beads in the drawers and some out where I can see them.

The right side has Art Clay Silver supplies, a huge Swarovski stash (and I rarely use them so they may get sold off…) that fit so nicely in this very cool spice rack from Bed Bath and Beyond. There’s also a few trays of copper and silver findings for work in progress now


Santa was nice and contributed a great storage solution from Michaels scrapbook section (which just needs to be pulled forward a skosh so I don’t have to stand up everytime I need a container). I can’t believe it is full to the brim and I still need to organize my Hill Tribe Silver a bit more.

I’ve set up a metalworking area on my right (the former clutter-catcher table) and it should be almost perfect when I get a better chair in place. This area has been updated since the photo…the flexshaft is attached and the ribbons have a new home…the kiln doesn’t get much use at the moment so it’s a become a bit of a catchall.

I moved in another multi-drawer storage cabinet from the dining room (at one time another work area) and actually filled it with materials…a pearl drawer, supplies, miscellaneous jewelry that hasn’t been priced, natural stones, and more lampwork beads. It is right behind the work area and I’m thinking of adding the second one I have on top at some point.

The carpet needs to come out and quite frankly, I’ll pull half of it out myself and just deal with the concrete for the time being. The whole room needs painting, and that’s part of what has always held this transformation back. I’ve got two huge bookcases full of books I’ve designed for publishers, not to mention the other whole side of the office with computers, printer, scanner, etc. Moving all that out to paint would require a temporary office space to stay in business (but the kitchen table is now clear…hmmm……..). So that’s a project for another month/year.

Right now, I’m focused on getting new Joolz completed for the Webb School ArtXtravaganza in early March in Knoxville.  And I’ve just signed up for the Bead Soup Exchange orchestrated by Lori Anderson so hopefully these will also provide me the incentive to do better with blog updates. For now, I’m going to shoot for every other week, though I’ve also thought about adding a review of books related to beading and jewelry…I’ve managed to acquire quite of few new ones of late.

In any event, I hope in time, I’ll have lured back som of the readers I’ve lost over the last year.

There are signs of intelligent life!

From my poor neglected blog, that is. I know it has be MONTHS without a post and I have no excuses but apathy.  The weather, the holidays, the economy…take your pick. But I’m trying to move past all that and ring in the New Year (almost a month late) with more blogging.

The One World One Heart project seemed a good start.  Hundreds of creative souls banding together with give-aways to tempt readers to follow. Start with mine and then move on to the  rest! If you get lost, I’m #658 on the list.

Something else to get the creativity jump-started is a Bead Soup Party hosted by a great cyberfriend, Lori Anderson. She match 80+ jewelry designers together in pairs with instructions to send a “bead soup” mixture to our partner. I should have my “soup” in a couple days and we’ll be unveiling all of our creations in February so stay tuned for that. My partner is Linda Lawrence of Bella Bead Jewelry

I’m busy working on new Joolz for ArtXtravaganza at the Webb School in Knoxville, TN again in March. Looking forward to meeting up with friends for a few days of fun after that.

That preparation has me looking at bracelets and redesigning many to lower the costs and give them a fresh, new look in the process. And I’ve been working more with wirewrapping and hammering. You can find some of those results on Etsy.

So two posts in one day. I think I’ll shoot for a couple of posts a week for now. Hopefully everyone hasn’t forgotten me!

Sweet 16 Sale on Etsy!

emma11My “baby” is going to be 16 on May 11th, so I’m having a “Sweet 16 Sale” in my Etsy store through that date.


All Joolz (rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, accessories) are marked 16% off already low prices…not to mention that free first class US shipping. What a deal.


Think of all the events coming up that need “Joolz”…you can’t? Here, I’ll help you:


I think you get the picture…every day is a holiday!