Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wednesday is Library Day!

I haven't read much lately... I'm too busy with jewelry and Farmer's Market and swimming lessons.

The Shadow Sorceress by L.E. Modessit, Jr.
From Modessit's website: Anna, the heroine of The Spellsong War (Tor, 1999) was a singer from Earth who brought a new level of magic to the world of Erde through her knowledge of music and singing. Considered to be the power behind the throne, Anna was able to protect her young king for years. But when Anna dies unexpectedly, her successor, Secca, is thrust into a position of power before her training is complete. The kingdom of Defaulk is in a state of unrest and a possible war is on the horizon. To make matters worse, the Sea Priests have laid a naval siege on Nordwei using their new drumming magic. Now Secca must gather her resources and put her still-developing magical powers to the test to continue Anna’s work and set things right again.

I enjoyed the continuation of the Spellsong Saga, and have thorougly enjoyed the return to Defaulk. However, Secca's tale is honestly not as rich as Anna's... Anna's experiences and wisdom changed her world so much, and Secca just doesn't have them. Which is the point of the book- it's a coming of age story. I care about Secca and the world that's been created, but haven't enjoyed this one as much as the others. I'm overwhelmed by the odds that she must face and really do not see how she can possibly defeat the horrible evil that has grown around her. I will be going on to read the next book. But not with as much enthusiasm as I dove into Anna's stories.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
From the cover: One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from Inkheart, and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of the book, landing in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie's in the middle of the kind of adventure she thought only took place in fairy tales. Somehow she must master the magic that has conjured up this nightmare. Can she change the course of the story that has changed her life forever?

I thoroughly enjoyed Inkheart, and am looking forward to reading the others in the series. Beth rented the movie before I had an opportunity to read the book, and I got an inkling of how much I might enjoy the book and I was right. Not only is the book MUCH better than the movie, it was a good story. A book-lover's story.... I love the quotes from all the well-known books: from The Borribles to The Hobbit.
It's not Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong... It's gonna be a long time before we see another story with the depth, creativity and intrigue of Rowling's world. But it was excellent and well-told YA fiction. I was drawn in immediately and wanted to know what was going to happen. I cared about the characters and was interested in their story. Well worth the time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday is My Fun Day- Bead Soup Party

I have had a marvelous week participating in Lori's Bead Soup Party! http://lorianderson.blogspot.com/

I hope you have had an opportunity to check in with her blog and see all the amazing completed projects. I am pleased to be part of something so cool.

Here's the wonderful collection of beads my partner Lyn, of Lyn Foley.

Look at the amazing green beads she made! Isn't it great? She made the nine beads across the center.
The small green beads are chalk turquoise and the white strand is made up of lovely freshwater pearls.
I fell in love with the little bird clasp.

I am very pleased with my completed project, but let me tell you- It took a LOT to get there.

I originally had an entirely different concept, and was working with a very specific idea of what I wanted. I rarely work toward a goal like this, but I also rarely work with large glass beads such as Lyn's so I wanted a goal.

My concept drawing reflects a delicate and graceful vine with the focus entirely on Lyn's bead.

But here is where my lack of experience with large glass focal beads torpedoes my design.... Her bead was MUCH too heavy for the delicate vine. It literally pulled the vine right off my neck.... So I fought with that for a bit, and tried a couple of other ideas... Tried to rig a chain across the front, tried a different bead, tried finding beads for the vine end that would balance with her bead...

And got frustrated.
Very frustrated.

I didn't like any of the other ideas as much as my original vision...

And then it happened. I had a new vision. A good one... Maybe not as unique as my original concept, but I'm pleased with the final project. I still have other beads from Lyn's goodie bag to use, and I am looking forward to the challenge. =)

Giving up things you cling to...

Heart-religion is too holy to be popular. It will not leave natural man alone. It interferes with his worldliness and his sins. It requires of him things that he hates and despises–conversion, faith, repentance, spiritual-mindedness, Bible-reading, and prayer. It commands him to give up what he loves and clings to, and refuses to lay aside. It would be strange indeed if he liked it. It crosses his path as a kill-joy and a troublemaker, and it is absurd to expect that he will be pleased with it.
~ J.C. Ryle

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I get about one or two migraines a month. Today is one of those days. I'm having trouble looking at the computer screen without squinting.
So I will be posting my book reviews when I can look at my computer without crying.
Sorry if you are disappointed.

Swim Lessons- Too much girl time

The girls had fun splashing around at swimming lessons today. And now I'm wound tight as a drum... Too much girlie time today!!!

I love 'em, but Lord have mercy, they can drive me CRAZY. The bad thing about swimming lessons is that they want you to stay in the building the entire time your child is in the pool. (Which I agree with in theory, but in practice...)

Abigail's lessons are from 2-2:30, and Deborah's are from 2:45-3:30. Which means that I'm stuck in the building for 1 and a half hours (more like 2 hours 'cuz of changing time and shower time...) And that's a LONG time to be stuck in one place with wiggly girls.

Deborah talked non-stop. The only time she wasn't talking was during her lesson. The thing about her- she doesn't just chat & chat and let you float along. She wants you to pay attention the whole time... And she asks questions to make sure that you are with her.

Abigail literally cannot be still, and for the most part I can deal with that- it's just the way she's put together. But during Deborah's lesson, she wanted to be up in the loft to watch Deborah for about 5 minutes, and then down stairs to eat for about 10, and then back up in the loft for 5, and then back down to eat, etc.

After the lessons we stopped at the store, and got a few items and had a snack. Which brought our total up to about four hours of non-stop chattering, whining, and wiggling.

I am pretty much ready to shred the walls with my finger-nails.
Love those girls of mine. =)

Friday, June 18, 2010


After his wife died in great pain, C.S. Lewis realized, "If I had really cared as I thought I did, about the sorrows of this world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came".

This is a reminder to me that God always holds me when my life feels out of control. That He knows my pain, and lives it out with me.

I honestly don't understand or agree with His choice to allow so much pain and suffering in the world. However, I trust that He is God and truly knows what is best- the end of it all, and that giving us free will was worth more than making our lives easy and pain free.

Friday is My Fun Day! - Wire-work pieces

Fridays are now officially my favorite day. =)

I completed these two projects this week and last week, but finally got a lovely sunny day to photograph them.

Butterfly Crystals

My butterfly piece is wire work wrapped with freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals and Quartz.

I love the sparkle and elegance, and wish that my photos could give a clear picture of just how dazzling the piece is to the naked eye.

Sunset Over Snow

My snow piece is wire-wrapped seed beads and Swarovski crystals.

7 Strands of aurora borealis, clear, white, and silver seed beads have been wrapped together to create the snow, then a strand of crystals has been wrapped around the rest.

Again, I wish my photos could show the true dazzle and sparkle of the piece.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wednesday is Library Day!!- Spellsong Cycle

I've been diving into some rich and beautiful fantasy by L.E. Modesit, Jr. The first three are actually re-reads, but well worth the time.

The Spellsong War by L.E. Modesit, Jr. (Book 2 of The Spellsong Cycle)
From his web-site: Anna Marshal is regent of the kingdom of Defalk only a few months after a sorcerer pulled her from her boring life as a music instructor in Ames, Iowa to the world of Erde. With her ability and her integrity she saved Defalk from invasion and became it’s regent. Now she must defend it against the greedy rulers of neighboring kingdoms who see a weakened state and a possible opportunity.
I love re-reading books, at least really good books. I always find more the second time than the first, and I often understand the actions of the characters far more the second time.
I understand so much more this time about Anna, both as a mother and as a woman trying to make lasting changes in a messed up country. Modesit, Jr. has created a believable, convoluted and twisty world inhabited by believable, convoluted and twisty characters.
I enjoy the magic, the politics, the balancing act, the singing and the hint of romance.
Excellent fantasy.

DarkSong Rising by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Book 3 of The Spellsong Cycle)
From his website: We first met Anna Marshall in The Soprano Sorceress when she wished to be anything other than a music teacher and singer in Iowa—this was before she was pulled into the world of Erde where her gift of song became a gift of magic. Her musical ability has since given Anna influence, control, and the potential to be an enormously powerful sorceress. Now, as the Regent of Defalk, Anna must battle two men who would destroy her and claim Defalk for their own.
I sympathized with Anna, and was drawn into her world completely. Just as Anna did, I grew weary of the eternal battle to protect the country. And the frustration of dealing with an over-proud and young soon-to-be king. I wished she could go home to her children, and I wished she could find happiness in Defalk and be free to make a home there.
The pressure of dealing with so many arrogant men intent on destroying the future would overwhelm me... I am amazed at her persistence, and willingness to throw herself into battle on behalf of those she knows and respects so little.
These have been worth my time, and I look forward to reading the next two in the cycle.

L.E. Modesit, Jr.'s web-site: http://www.lemodesittjr.com/

Bead Soup Blog Party- Coming Soon!

Pretty soon I'll be sharing the addresses for all the other participants in the Bead Soup Party.
Right now I just want to let you know when the unveiling will be- June 19th through June 26th.
Stay Tuned!!!
For all the latest info, check out Lori Anderson's blog:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday is My Fun Day! - ???

What to do???

The weather has been horrible this entire week, so I haven't been able to take pics outside of any of my jewelry! I don't have any creative new pieces to share!
I've been creating lovely jewelry, I just don't have any good photos!

Our sweet lovely wonderful friend Valette left us with a stupendous light box and we've been using it inside during the winter, but it is a process to set up... Maybe I can do all that tomorrow, but I was just not up to the task today.

I have a solution!
Instead of sharing MY work, I am going to share some of the pieces that have truly inspired me lately.
These two pieces by Sylvia Jewelry at Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Sylviajewelry) have absolutely blown me away.. The first is called "Bloom Necklace in gold", and the second is called "Harvest Necklace".

I am in love with her style! I love the delicate vine nature of her work, and enjoy the bold color choices.

She has caused me to look at my own wire-work in a different way. I'm mulling it over and dreaming, but soon I expect to have my work go in a slightly different way. I'm looking forward to the changes ahead!

Sylvia has MANY other lovely jewelry pieces at her website, some like these, and some completely different.

Go enjoy!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fun Earrings- Pearl Flowers

The sweetest lady called me last night. She had gone to Pioneer Park, found my jewelry and purchased several pieces.

She hoped I could make earrings to match the necklace she had bought so that she could wear them to her son's wedding. I had never made any like it, but I gave it a try... Here is the result.
I like them. I was very nervous, but they turned out quite cute. Now that I've figured out how to do it I will probably make something like these again.

In the picture, I am showing one of the flowers from the back and one from the front

Thank you, Nancy! I probably wouldn't have tried if you hadn't requested.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wednesday is Library Day!- The dark and depressing

I read two books this last week... And both were extremely dark and depressing. I don't know how I ended up reading them both in the same week, but at least I can say I've read them and will never do so again.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

From the cover: A celebrated playwright and poet, Oscar Wilde also penned incomparable nonviction and fiction- and lovely gemlike fairy tales. Filled with princes and nightingales, mermaids, giants, and kings, his tales carry the mark of his signature iron and subtle eroticism. This volume brings together all the stories found in Wilde's two collections, The Happy Prince and Other Tales and A House of Pomegranates. Published here alongside their evocative original illustrations, these fairy tales, as Wilde himself explained, were written "partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy."

The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my favorite plays, so when I ran across this little volume of fairy tales I was delighted. I had no idea what I was picking up...
I've read several of these before- The Happy Prince, and The Birthday of The Infanta both stand out as stories I've read before, and a couple of the others felt familiar.
First off, let me say there's no way I'd let my children read this until they are at least 13. They're dark with an over-riding sense of doom, but more than that they paint a very hopeless picture of humanity.
Most of the stories portray selfishness as destruction, and self-lessness as a lost & hopeless cause. A nightingale gives up his life so that a lover can give a red rose to his girl, which she then throws on the ground and tramples...
I'm glad I read them again. The stories are all beautifully written, but I came away from this compilation sad and heart-broken for the author.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
From the Cover: Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss- her life- and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend's memory and feeling guilty for not being able to help save her.
In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on the the most important thing of all - hope.

I knew exactly what I was getting into with this novel- an honest portrayal of anorexia, depression, guilt and an excellent novel.
I hated this story and loved it.
As a teacher & minister, I was struck again with how dark the future is for kids with anorexia- how hard this disease is to overcome. As a mom I was horrified at the thought of what this poor child was doing to her body and how much it messed with her mind.
Anderson is a fantastic author- she allows the reader to experience the deterioration of Lia's thought process and the 'control' that a person with anorexia so desperately seeks through starvation and drugs. The more control she gains over her body and cravings, the less control she actually has...
Well worth the read, beautifully written.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Eyes on You

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.
Neil Postman

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Friday is My Fun Day!- Leafy Bronze Bracelets

I am delighted to show these bracelets off!
They were fun to make...

First and most importantly, I chose metal that had already been worked with and aged. Each of these pieces had been worked with and then discarded. I loved the texture and images already embedded in the metal.

Then I heated the copper to make it malleable. I chose leaves and ran the metal and the leaves through the rolling mill.
(A rolling mill is the tool I covet the most from our shop. Yes, I want a torch, but I WANT a rolling mill in a really bad way. The cheapest good one I've found was around $500. It's gonna be a while before I have one...)

Next, I soaked the pieces in liver of sulphur to age and darken the leaf impressions.
After the liver of sulphur bath, I sanded the surface to lighten the raised metal.

Then I drilled holes on the sides. After speaking to an artist on Etsy I used clear finger-nail polish to coat the backs of the bracelets. Copper has a tendency to turn skin green when worn repeatedly, but the clear nail polish will prevent the copper from touching skin.

Finally, I took them home and beaded them, which was a blast! I wanted a heavy, rich appearance so I mixed chain in with vibrant glass beads and luscious stones.

I created the green bracelet specifically for me, but the red and blue one are both for sale!

Take a peak down at Farmer's Market on College Rd. in Fairbanks or on Etsy.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Total Terror

I experienced total mommy terror today.

I let Deborah & Abigail go across the street to play with the new little girl in our neighborhood around 3:30. They were playing outside and came in to check with me a couple times. I looked outside and saw them, Jake looked outside and saw them, my mom looked outside and saw them.

At right about 5:20 I went across the street to call them for dinner. And they were gone.
They had been gone from her house since about 5.

I checked in our back-yard, and then rang the bell of our next-door neighbors on the right 'cuz they like her little dog. They had been there at about 5:05 and talked to her, but left.

Abigail & Deborah had been missing for about 15 minutes at that time...

I started panicking and was just yelling their names, in the backyard, down the street...

Jake came out and talked to the little girl's mom from across the street. Then he biked off to the little play area about half a block away (it used to be a nice play-ground back when these houses were built in the 70's, but is pretty derelict now). They weren't there.

Jake started biking down the street looking for them, and I went to the neighbor's house on the other side. We were both seconds away from calling the police....

When a friend of ours- Brian - who lives in our neighborhood drove back from his house. He said our girls were at his house. He had seen me freaked out when he drove past on the way home, and when he saw them at his house he put it all together.

Deborah & Abigail had walked something like 6 blocks- down two streets, over three streets, and down another block- for them to have gotten to his house.

And just to be clear here- we have never walked to their house. I have driven there one night to deliver a script or pick one up or something, but only Abigail was with me, and it was a while ago and it was in the dark of winter..

We asked them what they were doing, and Abigail told me they were looking for someone to play with 'cuz they were lonely!!! What on earth!?!

They are grounded for the next two weeks and will not be allowed to play outside by themselves or with the little girl across the street. I am grounding my 4 year old and my 7 year old! Doesn't that sound crazy?!

I have had some scary moments as a mom- immunizations, bad falls, hospital visits, etc.- but this one was by far the worst.

Thank you, God for the angels you had watching my girls today! Thank you for Brian who recognized them and figured out what was going on. Thank you that I made dinner early tonight so we started looking for them almost immediately after they took off. Thank you that they didn't get taken, or hit by a car, or bitten by a dog, or go down to the river, or any of the myriad of things that could have happened. Thank you that they are both safe and asleep in their beds right now.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

atheism and the heavens

I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.
Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Wednesday is Library Day!- Strangers & Lifelines

I actually haven't read much lately... I've been hiding out in beads, TV, and solitaire. Actually easier to turn my brain off doing something other than reading right now. Weird.

Strangers by Dean Koontz

From the cover: They were strangers. A handful of people. From different backgrounds, living in different towns and cities across America, they had nothing in common- except fear.
They were victims. Cold and stark, an unknown terror gripped their dreams and turned their days into living nightmares.
They were chosen. And they could not escape. Deep in the heart of a sprawling desert, a dark memory called out to them, drawing them to the Tranquility Motel- where the terrifying truth was waiting...

I enjoyed Strangers so much that I've read it a total of three times so far. I like the characters, the plot moves quickly, even though it is long (680 pages), and the various situations are compelling. I like the book very much.
The haunting horrible mystery that draws all of the people together. The intriguing memories. The paranormal powers. Friendships, love, a touch of romance. Good guys against bad guys. Yup, good story.

Lifelines by CJ Lyons

From the cover: July 1st- Transition Day. The most dangerous day of the year. The day staff at Pittsburgh's Angels of Mercy Medical Center brace themselves for the arrival of the cocky, untested new interns. It's also the first day for L.A.-transplant Lydia Fire, the new ER attending physician. Not a good day to lose a patient- especially not the chief of surgery's son. Now to save her career, Lydia must discover the truth behind her patient's death, even as it leads her into unfamiliar- and risky- territory.
At least she's not alone. There's med student Amanda, a sweet Southern belle with problems of her own; Gina, a resident with a chip on her shoulder; and Nor, the no-nonsense charge nurse with a cool head but a fiery temper. Not to mention the paramedic who'd like to try out his bedside manner on Lydia. These four women will learn to depend on each other in their fight to save lives- because everyone needs a lifeline...

I was disappointed with this book. Yes, the medical details are exacting and exciting. Yes, the plot moves. Yes, there's tons of stuff going on...
In fact, I thought there was too much going on. Too many characters- I got mixed up on a couple of them (specifically Amanda and Nora) and would have appreciated a little more clarification and differentiation between them- They seemed very similar to me.
Some of the story-line/plot bits got a little jumbled and turned around... There's a riot downtown and a bomb and a gunman and poisonings... And a bad guy, except he's a surgeon. And then the bad guy isn't the surgeon. And then there's two bombs... And one of the characters has tremors, and the other was raped, and one of the others has a bad childhood... Too much!
Anyway, the back of the book claims that it's about these women learning to depend on each other, but they don't. They rarely interact at all. In fact, during the biggest crisis they are all in different places and doing different things and not working together. I don't know that I read a single scene where all of the characters were in the same room...
I'd probably only give the book a C, but lots of other readers have loved it so I must be missing something. http://cjlyons.net/books/reviews/

Truth Time

I have avoided blogging for the last week because I have been quietly flipping out...

Last Thursday, I met with a neuro-surgeon from Anchorage to talk to him about my neck. (In fact, it was the fantastic doctor who did my spinal cyst surgery a year and a half ago. Back when I couldn't walk and ended up in a wheel-chair 'cuz of the thing in my back.)

He told me what I pretty much already knew- I have done everything possible to avoid having surgery on my neck, and I've run out of options. There is no longer enough space in my spinal cord to do injections of any kind.

The list of problems is pretty extensive- severe spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space between the vertebrae and the spinal cord), herniated and bulging discs, damaged and deteriorating vertebrae... He told me I have the spine of a much older person, and that they rarely see someone so young with such severe problems. (There's no ONE thing that has caused my problems- I have mild scoliosis, bad back genetics from both sides, I've been in numerous car accidents, years of schooling and bad posture...)

I'm now at the point where Jake & Beth have nightmares about being in a car accident with me because of what my pain doctor has said- Specifically, I'm so close to paralysis from spinal stenosis that if I start having some specific issues that I am to be rushed to the ER.

The neurosurgeon is encouraging/urging me to go ahead with surgery. He's pretty much assuming that I'm going to do it. My pain doc encouraged me to just talk to him and hear what he had to say...
And I STILL don't want to...

I have avoided surgery to the point of craziness. I have babied my neck for 12-13 years, trying to avoid cutting on it. I've seen 6 different physical therapists- 1 in Texas, 2 in Seattle, and the others all at Advanced PT (By far, the best therapists I've ever seen, and I would not be able to survive without them). I've done spinal injections, MRI's, CT's, Electrical stimulation, stretching, extension, exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles... You name it, I've probably tried it.

I have got some pretty major emotional problems with my neck- I HATE anyone touching it. I have problems getting my hair cut because the scissors are flying around my neck. If I believed in reincarnation (which I don't!) I would swear I'd been murdered in one or more past lives by having my throat slashed. I hate knives, but in particular knives around my neck.

To add to the horror, the surgeon will be getting to my spinal cord through the front of my neck. Which shouldn't make it worse, but it does.

Oh, yeah. And I react TERRIBLY to anasthesia and narcotic medicines- nausea, headaches, swimmy head...

And the pain is so bad in my neck that I'm probably going to go ahead an do it. But I'm still freaking out.