Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Seascape Necklaces

 I’ve been so busy trying to keep my shop stocked with charm beads for months and haven’t had a chance to make necklaces until now. I love making the beads for these because they are bigger and allow for more complicated designs. These beads are made by essentially painting in glass. I start with a white background like an artist starts with a blank canvas and add all the colors in layers. Of course unlike with a painting I have the benefit of being able to heat up my whole “painting” and manipulate the glass to get more flow or move around an area if I want to.

                                                    Moonlit Seas Bead in the making.

 After I’m happy with my seascape “painting” I shape the bead, and add the moon detail.

Both of these piece are currently available here on eBay.

If you are a glass beadmaker I do have tutorial available on my seascape beads here.

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Growing Up in a “Disadvantaged” Area

It’s funny to think that I spend all most of my time making art and pretty things because I was raised to be VERY practical. My parents did not introduce me to art or teach me to appreciate beautiful things but they did make sure to teach me the value of hard work. My mother never wore jewelry, makeup or nice clothes. I grew up in a single wide trailer but there was never any feeling of shame or lack about that fact. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I learned that rural Maine and our home in particular were something many people would look down upon.

I’m very thankful for the people who did introduce me to art. My elementary school started an art program when I was about halfway through and the teacher we got was wonderful. I was lucky enough to take private sewing lesson from someone who creates the most artistic quilts I’ve ever seen and does other amazingly original fiber art projects. I then went on to high school where I had another excellent art teacher and was lucky enough to have art class everyday all four years of high school.

That said I don’t regret that I wasn’t raised in a city with lots of art museums and culture, or that my parents weren’t highly cultured people or even artists themselves. They encouraged me and helped me to pursue my interests even if they knew nothing about them. Anything more than that would have been unnecessary.

My rural, practical upbringing was an amazing gift and though most would look at Washington County Maine and see a depressing place lacking in opportunities, I realize that it was the very thing that gave me such a valuable and unique opportunity.

How exactly? If my parents had had a perfect beautiful home they never would have let me set up a torch and kiln and melt glass in it as a teenager. Keep in mind I had taken no classes, watched no youtube videos on the subject because we had dial up internet at the time and I had no idea what I was doing. My closest previous experience was probably with 4th of July sparklers. Dad was willing to risk his old workshop/shed that he and mom built out of logs however.

If my parents had had high hopes for their honor roll student going to an ivy league college they never would have let me live with them while I figured out how and if I could make a glass bead/jewelry business grow straight out of highschool.

If as a teenager I had had activities and parties and a fantastic social life I never would have had the time to devote to learning lampwork.

And of course there are many more reasons just like this.

Today I don’t live in a fancy home and I have to drive a long time just get groceries or go to the doctor. I don’t own nice clothes not because I don’t like them but because I work from home. Even when I do go out in public, everyone else is dressed in jeans and flannel for the most part anyway.

But in return for those small sacrifices I have a job not only doing what I love, but the very job that I dreamed of doing from the time I was a teenager. I live debt free in a half renovated 1860’s farm house with unlevel floors so I can be sure to continue to do what I love. And I live in what I believe is one of the most beautiful places in the world so I am never lacking for inspiration.

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This is what it looks like outside.

Beautiful yes, but the lack of color can get old quite fast. Not surprisingly I love making beads in the winter because I get to snuggle up (but not too close) to a warm (2000 degrees Fahrenheit) torch by a wood fire and dream up scenes like this…

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Wearing Charm Beads in Unexpected Ways

 This is a necklace I wear all the time, and while it’s very unique to me personally, I wanted to share it with you so it can give you an idea of how to wear my or other brands of charm beads without a Pandora, Trollbead or other brand bracelet.

The gold chain is
antique from I think the late 1800’s and it’s a little longer than I
like. It came on an antique locket I got lucky and won in an eBay auction. I thought about shortening it but because it’s antique I didn’t
want to alter it. However with the beads added in this way it’s the perfect
length. The lion charm is a very sentimental piece that I’ve had since
junior high. The two glass beads are beads I made and liked how they
turned out so much couldn’t bare to sell them. One is a simple encased
dot bead and the other is one of my large focal flower garden beads. I SO adore teal with a little bit of purple. This necklace combines many things dear to me, gold AND silver, lions, flowers, luna moths, and antique things.

To make a piece similar like this, all you need is…

-A charm or pendant

-One of more charm beads

-A flexible chain, preferable in some kind of link style. Most chains sold as rollo, cable or link should work. Make sure to get a length longer than the length you like to wear. If the chains clasp is not simple or is too wide the beads may not fit but for the vast majority of chains this is not a problem.

Add your beads onto the chain  first, then add your charm and simply double the chain through the beads again. Center them out on the chain and you’re done! 

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Reflecting on my Disasterous Resloutions for 2015

2015 was an amazing, life changing, full of surprises year for me.Yes, I’m expecting a baby early this year, but my pregnancy was one of the few things in 2015 that I actually did plan. 🙂 This time last year I had a lot of goals and expectations for myself which I won’t even bother to write out here. Instead of presenting me with smooth sailing and the opportunity to accomplish them, 2015 threw new challenges at me that I had not dreamed of facing. To top off an incredibly difficult year, my closest friendship ended in a way that was completely devastating and I’m still not able to fully process it. I had had such a difficult year and I had lost the one person I went to to talk about everything… even the most minor annoyances of my life.

Towards the end of this year I had so much STUFF to process that the only thing that kept me sane was trail running. The endorphins together with the beauty and peace of the woods were the very best therapy I could find. Then within one week I got sciatica so severe I could barely walk across my kitchen and had to give up running and even walking outside at all.

Though I might be tempted to think it, life is not against me. Life is showing me that I’m much much stronger and flexible than I think. For every setback there is an equal blessing, if I can only look past my disappointment to see it. In losing my friendship, I learned to appreciate my family and others in my life so much more. Because of being forced to stop running I
discovered yoga which I never dreamed of having the patience for before now.

Leo, who writes one of my favorite blogs, http://zenhabits.net/ says
that goals are not always helpful and that instead of making a goal we
should focus on making a small change of habit, or by setting a “rule”
for ourselves. For example if you want to write a book you don’t make a
goal to finish a book by 2017, instead you simply schedule 20 minutes of
time to write in your day. The only real difference is that the focus
is on the activity (writing) rather than the end of the road (the book).

I’ve learned to aim more for intrinsic versus extrinsic goals, and at least some of the time I now remember more than ever to be grateful for the incredibly rich life I do have. I’m a lot happier with myself, and happier in the moment. It’s not about goals, it’s about life as a journey as a whole and more than that it’s about accepting each moment as it is now and seeing the beauty in it’s imperfection. You can’t focus so much on goals that you forget the big (and invariably better) picture. You can’t try to force things into being perfect or how you want them to be without missing the beauty in what is.

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Are you the Coyote or the Forest?

The coyote is always hungry.  When he isn’t hungry, chasing prey or feasting on a fresh kill he fights for his place in the pack or a mate. Most of us live our lives just like the coyote. The coyote in us is our ego. Our ego only cares about us, about how we feel about ourselves or perceive others to feel about us. It’s number one job is to make sure our most basic needs are met but when that job is done it’s still working just as hard. If we don’t learn how to tell the ego to stop we are always tired, always hungry.

This is the root cause of almost all our problems as humans, it’s why we cheat, why we overeat, why we murder, why we spend money we don’t have, why we gossip about others at the same time feeling jealous of them. It’s why we always feel we have to increase our wealth, gain popularity or status, acquire new things. It’s why we are always chasing after excitement just to feel a very short lived moment of bliss after attaining what we so desperately wanted.  In those rare times that we find ourselves with the bliss having faded and no new desire to take it’s place that’s when we truly feel despair. Without thought we frantically look for a new desire to replace the last.

But you can break the pattern and transcend it all by stepping out of the coyote and instead becoming the forest.

The forest just is. It is timeless. It is now. The forest nurtures. The forest does not judge the coyote for preying on the rabbit but it nurtures both. It has no knowledge of past or future or memory of what it was or ambition for what it could be. It is perfect as it is. It doesn’t question this, there is no question.  

Our ego is the coyote in the forest and the forest is our soul. The problem with this analogy is that no animal no matter how predatory or vicious could ever rival the human ego and no animal possesses an ego. This is what separates us from animals. This is why animals are so beautiful both in form and in spirit.  

“He didn’t acknowledge me, she doesn’t respect me.”  “I’m not attractive enough.” “One more scoop of ice cream and I’ll be satisfied.” “I’ll feel better after I buy this.” “I’m unhappy because I haven’t met the right person yet.”

The ego puts our thoughts into words. The ego is the voice in our head. The voice that won’t ever, ever shut up.

The soul doesn’t use words. The words that describe the thoughts of the soul are hard to define, hard to describe. The forest is love, compassion, creativity, wisdom.

If you are starving or in terrible danger you will almost always be all ego. Most of us have to be the coyote to navigate through life and work. Some people are the exception to this, and exceptional they truly are.

The problem is that most of us are no where near being in danger of starvation or homelessness, yet the ego is the ever reigning king and dictator of our lives and not only does he make decrees but he also filibusters constantly. 
Happiness is a step away. Just step into the forest.
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Buy Art Not Brands

Do you ever think about what your dream home would look like if money
were no object? Would it look like luxury home photos in magazines?
Would you be surrounded by expensive furniture and whatever art and
decor that was trendy and expensive at the time? Would you want things
like a pool and a tennis court even if you don’t really like to swim or
play tennis? Or would it be a completely unique place all of your own?

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what makes us want something,
and why sometimes we find ourselves wanting things that don’t really fit
us as individuals. Sometimes we want things because its more about them
helping us fit in rather than those things fitting who we are.

Lately I’ve seen multiple articles like this about Etsy’s most successful seller. http://www.inquisitr.com/1863026/thr…libaba-claims/ I’ve started to completely rethink my approach to selling art.

Common advice to artists is to become a brand. Basically this means to
somehow magically make distinctive art and become famous at the same
time. This is great advice because our society is brand obsessed. Even
as artists, we are brand obsessed. Etsy’s most successful seller created
a brand that is so big that now she must have her designs mass
produced. She’s definitely a brand but is she an artist?

Is it really Etsy’s problem that they have to find a way to survive and
thrive as a huge popular website that serves a culture that is brand
obsessed? Just like food brands would have never taken corn syrup out of
their products before documentaries like Food, Inc, got so popular,
Etsy won’t change before the culture does.

I believe that big brands are as to artists as huge farms are to small
local farms. The reason that so many people desperately want to sell
their art and work for themselves is to avoid having to work a soulless
unfulfilling career, but ironically many of those soulless careers are
working for a big brand. I think marketing is often approached by other
artists as a way to get their art seen by more people and bought by more
customers over other artists. I can give you advice on how you
personally can get an edge over other artists by finding the right
keywords and optimizing your listings for search engines, etc, but that
can only help one person be able to quit their regular 9-5 to sell their
art.

Other artists aren’t your competition, brands are. If we can work to
sell art itself to people instead of just marketing our own art and
trying to find a way to tell everyone how great your work is without
sounding egocentric or stepping on others toes or spamming all your fans
you’ll create real change in the world. The hands that make products
for a brand don’t belong to the minds that dreamed them up and in that
disconnect the “soul” is lost. Art has soul. Art that is created in the
mind and made by the hands of the artists that belong to that mind, that
are ONE with that mind, that art has soul.

The problem is that as a culture we don’t put a monetary value on that.
We dismiss that “soul” as oh you made something cute, oh she is crafty.
Oh he does art for a hobby. Then we turn around and put a huge monetary
value on something mass produced or even made in a sweatshop because it
has a brand name. Someone put a lot of money into advertising and
product research to make you aware of that thing. They spent a lot of
money to make you believe that if you own and display that thing that it
will enhance your ego or impress people you don’t really care about.

A masterfully crafted craft or piece of original art is not something
that you throw away when the trend has passed. Rather there is no trend
to come or go but the thing has true value that is more likely to
increase then quickly diminished with time. The less well known the
artist and the more original the art, the less brand like it is.

Trends in fashion are the most ridiculous waste of resources because
essentially a trend is started by a few brave people who discover they
want to be different from everyone else and everyone else wants to be
different too so they all end up looking the same. Then it’s on to the
new trends. Trends are destroying the earth. Instead buy an original
piece of art that speaks to you, that you love and be original.

Before you purchase something ask yourself? Why do I like this? Do I
like it just because I like the brand name? Do I like it because it’s
popular? Do I value it because I think it has value or because my friend
thinks it has value? How much is this actually worth considering the
materials and time spent on workmanship? Whose hands made this and who
designed it? Are they the same person? If not how greatly removed are
they?

  

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Etsy Shop

I’ve recently begun regularly stocking my etsy shop. I’m adding a few charm beads here and there but mostly you’ll still find my beads that fit Pandora and trollbeads over at ebay. I have a new line of jewelry over on Etsy featuring my TINIEST lampwork beads on a fine sterling silver chain. I’m adding new designs at all times but currently have listed owls, hedgehogs, foxes, orchids, ladyslippers, ladybugs, paw prints, footprints and more.

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New Murrini, Angler Fish

New murrini, an angler fish. As freaky and
awesome as these fish are why don’t they have a cooler name? Murrini is
made by making a large design and pulling it out into cane that when
cooled is then sliced into chips that you set and encase in
the glass beads. Making this reminded me of 4th grade when we had to do
reports on various creatures that live in the “midnight zone” of the
ocean. Some other lucky kid got to do a report on an angle fish and I
got assigned this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathypterois_grallator I’m still pretty annoyed about that.

Beads to come soon!

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