Five Resolutions For The New Year

5 Goals for a Bead-utiful New Year

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in the next year.  I’m posting these goals in my studio, to help keep me on-track.

Setting and reaching goals

  1. Build up to 100 items in my shop, (I’m half-way there).  That seems to be the magic number for people to start finding you in a Google search.
  2. Blog 2-3 times a week.  Aim for three.
  3. Increase the speed/efficiency of photographing and posting new jewelry online.  I’m very slow at editing pictures, writing the item descriptions etc.  This eats huge hunks of time.
  4. Submit one of my jewelry designs to a beading magazine.
  5. Work on de-cluttering my studio, (&  my house, life etc. sigh…).

Wishing you and your loved ones an incredible, amazing, and wondrous 2011!

What goals have you set for yourself?  Do you think you’ll be able to make them happen?


Shopping In My Kitchen

Jewelry Open House

A lot of artists host Open Houses around the holidays, where people come to their homes or studios and can do some artisan-made shopping right at the source.  A variation of this has developed spontaneously for me over the past year or so.  Rather than a formal Open House event,  friends will just give me a call and ask if they can come over to do some jewelry shopping. They usually let me know a few days in advance.   This has occurred over the holidays, but also, it sometimes just goes like this, “Hey Linda, my Mom is in town visiting me, can we come over and look at your jewelry tomorrow?”

jewelry shopping in my kitchen

Jewelry set up in my kitchen

We have a long island in our kitchen.  I lay out all my jewelry there, put on some music and just step back and let my visitors browse.  I answer questions, maybe tell the story behind the piece they are looking at and encourage them to try on pieces of interest.

Jewelry shopping in my kitchen

Jenelle and Daniel of Beads & Botanicals

Recently Jenelle and Daniel of Beads and Botanicals, came over to do some Christmas shopping.  This husband and wife team make the most amazing lampwork glass beads.  If you are familiar with my work, then you know that I often include their beautiful handmade glass beads in my jewelry.  (Here’s a link to an interesting article about how lampwork beads are made.)  My recent Michaels Challenge necklace featured Daniel’s Black Sea Sand Dollar focal bead.  Their kitchen shopping excursion netted them a bracelet, a pair of earrings and two necklaces.

Artisan ewelry open house

Lampwork glass bead by Beads and Botanicals

Black Sea Sand Dollar by Daniel Caracas

If you are an artisan craftsperson perhaps an informal open house would work for you too.  What do you think?

The Ultimate Bead Organizer!

A Gift That Didn’t Fit Under The Tree

In What is Santa Bringing? I wrote that I was clearing a space for a BIG gift from Santa.  Well, here it is!  Santa, (aka my wonderful husband and my father) gave me an amazing antique printers cabinet!  This solid oak Hamilton printers cabinet  is approximately 100 years old. Its 18 drawers are divided into many small sections which were originally used to hold letterpress type.  The many sections are a beader’s dream come true!  I can organize so many beads here.  Oh my, I am in heaven!   Well, I’d better get to work!  My bead stash has been growing faster than my storage capacities and now everything will have its own little space!  *Jumping up & down with joy!*

100 Year Old Hamilton Oak Printers Cabinet

Antique Oak Hamiton Printers Cabinet

Just look at all those wonderful sections for my beads!

Antique Hamilton Printers Cabinet

I LOVE you, Santa!

Orchid Blooms

{Monday Meanderings: Musings & Observations From Beyond the Bead Studio}

Two Blooming Orchids!

I’ve been growing orchids on my kitchen window sill for about 10 years now.  My husband gave me a new Phalaenopsis (aka: Moth Orchid) for my birthday.  It was blooming in September when I received it and, amazingly, it is blooming again now. The fuchsia and yellow colors are so bold and bright in the middle of a long gray Pacific Northwest winter.  I get a little boost of joy every time I see it.

Blooming yellow and pink Phalaenopsis orchid

I also have an Ocidium Orchid (aka:  Dancing Dolls) that is just about to bloom.  With the buds still closed, I’ve grown to appreciate the stem structure.  It looks like a beautiful Chinese brush painting.  There are over 50 little buds on this–I started counting them and gave up at 50!  When they bloom, the flowers will be bright yellow with burnt orange markings.  In Central America, they are nicknamed “Huevos con Chorizo” (eggs and sausage).

yellow buds on an orchid branch

What is Santa Bringing?

Something New For The Studio

Santa is bringing something new for the studio and I have to clear out a large space for it.  But until it arrives, where will I put all the bead storage that used to be in this space to the right?

Cleaning out my bead studio

There was a LOT of junk, er, bead storage in that space to the right.  I opened the folding table I use for shows, and put most of the stuff there,  with some of the over-flow landing on the guest bed behind the table.  It looks like a disaster!  I hate this mess, but it will be so-o-o worth it when Santa unpacks his sleigh in my bead room.  Note the glass of wine in the foreground, helping me to steady my nerves until I can complete this reorganization project.

bead studio reorganization

Folding table used for temporary storage.


Studio reorganization

Guest bed piled high with bead storage units and misc. junk.

Even my work table is piled with debris.  Awk!

messy jewelry worktableDid Santa bring you anything that will support or enhance your creative efforts?  Tell us about it  in the comment section!

Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

On My Book Shelf:  Lark and Termite

I have a long shelf of books that have been patiently waiting for me to retire so I could give them the attention they deserve.  Some of these dear books have waited several years for me, while some are newer.  Lark and Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips is a relative newcomer to my collection; a gift from my daughter.

Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

Lark and Termite is a mysterious and complex novel told from 4 different perspectives.  Termite, a nickname for a small (“mite”) mentally handicapped boy, tells his story in a hazy, stream of consciousness manner, mostly through his impressions of the sounds around him.  His father was a musician and Termite mostly understands the world auditorily.  Although unable to walk or speak coherently (he does echo back sounds and words), Termite perceives many things about his world that others miss.  His 17-year-old sister, Lark, cares for Termite and possesses an understanding of her brother that is deeper than any words. Lark’s coming-of-age story includes making plans for a better future for Termite and herself, but it also encompasses new insights about the mother and father she never knew.  The story is also told from the point of view of her aunt, who is raising Lark and Termite after their mother’s suicide and their father’s death in the Korean War.  The aunt helps us to understand the complex relationships of love, attraction and family bonds that are the backdrop for this whole story.  The most haunting voice is that of the father, who is mortally wounded and barely hanging onto to consciousness in a tunnel at No Gun Ri in Korea.   Dread hung over me as I read his words, because we know, historically, that No Gun Ri was about to become a death trap.

This is not easy reading and although there is often a heavy feeling of loss, the book is also about hope and about the bonds of love.

I know this should have been posted for my Monday Meanderings, but with the holiday rush I just didn’t get to it on time.  Please forgive me and we’ll just call this Tardy Tuesday!

What is on your nightstand today?  We’d love to hear what you are reading.  Please share in the comment section!