Friday, September 30, 2011

Saturday Smiles

On Saturdays I share 3 to 5 things that make me smile, and make my heart happy.

1.) My favorite pants
I've got two pair I just love: My green Carhartts (yes, that makes me Alaskan to the core, but I DON'T care) and my comfy beat-up pair of cropped hang out pants. The Carhartts take me out of the house looking good, and the cropped pants keep me happy at home.

2.) My husband's adventure photography
Jake & the girls finally got to go on an adventure over the weekend, and he took some great shots of the girls at an adventure spot in the Gilmore Valley out near Fox. They climbed and hiked, explored and snacked to their heart's content.


Around the Bend

3.) The coming Christmas Bazaar Season
I know I'm wacky, but I look forward to the bazaars Beth & I attend during the three months leading up to Christmas. They are incredibly hard work with long hours, and the 'on-call' nature of selling my own work reminds me of an art performance or strange play that lasts 7 to 8 hours with the actors then having to tear down the set...
Also, you would be shocked at some of the strange/wonky/rude things people will say... (Best not to repeat the most rude, but here's a rather funny one. A customer walks up and carefully looks at all our jewelry. She chooses one particular piece of mine, and says to her friend, "Now this one.... This one looks professional." I guess the rest didn't come up to her high standards? or they looked like my 5 year old made it?)
We don't do many Christmas bazaars (we're only signed up for 4 this year so far); but they are fun. We see some friends we don't see any other time, customers we don't get to visit with except at Christmas, and I enjoy the routine... I enjoy helping someone find the perfect gift for that special someone.
I enjoy getting ready, and setting up, and making our jewelry look beautiful. During Farmer's Market we mostly focus on just getting it out there, but during the Christmas bazaars we focus on making each piece look beautiful. As we have gotten deeper and deeper into crafting each component of our jewelry from the findings to the pendants, I think we find a deeper satisfaction in displaying our pieces.
Even with all the work involved, I still thoroughly enjoy participating in the Christmas bazaars here in Fairbanks, and the thought that they are coming soon makes me smile!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Me!!! on Jewelry Making Daily

My necklace was included in Tammy Jones' Jewelry Making Daily POST about the Bead Soup Blog Party! WOW.
I feel pretty special. =)
Thank you, Tammy! I'm amazed at some of the other lovely pieces in your post. I can't quite believe my name was on the same page with people like Sally Russick, and Lorelei Eurto!

My Sister and Me

My sister is a big part of my life. We make jewelry together, and we sell jewelry together. Right now, we are living together. Which mostly works, and sometimes doesn't. =)

We also share a blog HERE.

We take VERY poor care of our blog during the summer. Farmer's Market and all our other responsibilities tend to get in the way of posting regularly. However, we have committed to keeping better care of our blog! Our intention is to take turns posting each week. I kicked it off with a bit about the summer, and Beth took her turn this week. She shared about creating a piece from Andrew Thornton's monthly reader's challenge kit.

Take a moment and check out what she has to say about creating her Magic necklace HERE.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday Smiles

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

I finally get to start regularly posting Saturday Smiles! Farmer's Market is over and the cold weather is coming, so my life reverts to more indoor activities. Or at least more child directed activities.
Both of my girls are involved in dance this year, and Deborah gets to be a mouse in the local production of The Nutcracker! She is thrilled and I'm a little over-whelmed.

On Saturdays, I try to share 3 to 5 items, people or memories that have made me smile during the previous week. The order is unimportant and sometimes my items are a little silly.

1.) Shamrocks
I grew up with shamrocks in the house. My mom has this incredible green thumb and anywhere we lived we had plants all through our home. The first plant I remember caring for was a shamrock.
Beth found a lovely variegated shamrock at Farmer's Market on the last day, took it home and gave it to our mom. We have all been enjoying it's presence in the dining area.

2.) Abigail likes school this year!!

Abigail HATED kindergarten. With a passionate and unembarrassed hatred. She would cry for at least 20 minutes every school morning before we left the house, and I would end up dragging her through the halls to her class and pushing her into the room. I felt bad, but after talking it over with her & her teacher, and visiting the class (Remember, I work in the school) I felt compelled to leave her in that class.

Her biggest expressed reason for hating kindergarten was, "I hate being told what to do!" While I understand her problem (I don't really like being told what to do either), I'm afraid there really isn't anybody who doesn't get told what to do sometimes. And if we'd chosen to turn it into a teacher issue and moved her into a different class-room, I think Abigail would have gotten the idea that she could cry her way out of anything... Plus, though I don't think her kindergarten teacher was the absolute best fit, I just don't think that was the bigger issue. I think the bigger issue was that she really didn't like having someone else tell her what to do, and that I probably should have held her back another year.

I don't know if that's true, but I do know that Abigail struggles to be still, has a stubborn streak a mile-wide just like her mama and that her Kindergarten teacher would address it head on. Her first grade teacher this year has a daughter who is very similar to Abigail, and instead of butting heads with Abigail she generally chooses to go around her, and give her the opportunity to choose to cooperate.

All I know for sure is that this year is working. Whether she's just old enough now, or more mature, or has a teacher that fits her learning style better, Abigail LOVES first grade. She doesn't have an assigned space, she doesn't have to stay at one desk or one table, and she gets to move a lot.

Sometimes Abigail says "I don't want to go to school" in the morning just like last year, but it's more like she feels that she SHOULD say it. She delights in choosing her clothes, and getting herself dressed, and getting her hair done. She hugs me at the school doors in the morning, and runs off to her class.

And it makes me smile.

3) Deborah is soaring, as usual.

I don't know how this girl got so smart... Some of it from me, and some of it from her daddy. But some of it is just an amazing gift. She's a talented author and illustrator with a delightful imagination, she has an amazing ear for music, she loves to dance and move, she does well in reading, in math, and in science.

Her struggle (just like me and her daddy) is with the social stuff. She struggles to share her feelings, find friends, and express what happened during the day. For the most part, we are able to help her translate those feelings into words. Except for her anger.

Her temper comes straight from her daddy. I tend to internalize anger and stew over it. It blasts out of Deborah, and often ends up hurting her as much as the object of her anger. I want to help her! But I feel so helpless. I know she gets scared at how out of control she feels. Her daddy still struggles with his anger and has a very hard time dealing with his lighting-quick temper.

But oh! Her singing and artistry. Her delight in doing school work well. Those things make me smile. I love watching her grasp and understand the concepts she is working with in her homework. I love reading her stories!

She makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

I cleaned off my bead tray! I spent over an hour on Monday and put all my left-overs away from the bead soup blog party. I love a clean tray. Honestly, I think better when I have an empty space to start laying out beads and ideas.
I decided to create a collage-style necklace in golds, browns and greens. So I pulled out a bunch of my larger beads and started playing. I hope to have it done pretty soon. But life keeps interfering. I haven't been able to touch it today. We'll see...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall leaves

For the Bead Soup Blog Party post, please go HERE.

The leaves were so lovely on Saturday, that I took time from from speaking to customers at Farmer's Market to take some photos. Very fun.
I love our patchwork hills right now. We get patches of different colored leaves, with different trees and evergreens. The hills are far enough from the center of town to be kind of foggy, but they are still pretty.

I enjoy fall so much, but still feel the pressure of imminent winter... Winter here in central Alaska is so cold and dark. I can feel the autumnal Equinox coming- as the days get darker and chillier, I start feeling more and more trepidatious & pessimistic. The clinging darkness of January & February make me want to gather as much sun as I can during this time.

The piles of fallen leaves remind me of the soon and coming drifts of snow, the icy roads, and the shrinking hours of sun-light.

Ah, well. I need to enjoy the days I am experiencing right now rather than fret myself into worrying over what isn't even here yet.

This is the parking at the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market on Saturday. We were so busy! Our last weekend of the season, and many people grabbed this chance to pick up veggies, berries, and early Christmas presents. Beth & I didn't sell as much as we wanted, but we had many customers confirming our bazaar season dates. So far, we're only signed up for four Christmas bazaars, but we could pick up a few more on the way. We have one in late October, two in November, and one in early December. I'll post about them as we get closer to those dates.

Enjoy the fading leaves of fall where-ever you are!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party- My Big Reveal!

The fabulous Lori Anderson has arranged yet another Bead Soup Blog Party.

I am delighted to be part of this exciting event!

A Bead Soup Blog Party goes like this:
First, Lori carefully pairs up everyone who signs up (There were 362 of us!). Then we select a focal bead, a toggle and some coordinating beads and send them to our partner. After we receive the goodies our partner has sent us, each participating beader must use the toggle and the focal to create a completely new piece of jewelry.

My partner was the lovely Pamela Petry of Seeing is Believing. Look at the pendants she sent me! I liked them all, but in particular fell in love with the little birdie.

I love my bead soup, too! Look at all the different turquoise beads and the wood shapes. I was all excited to get started and nervous that I might not make something 'good'. I didn't want to disappoint Pamela or Lori. And I didn't want 300 people coming to my blog and hating what I did! Too much negative pressure!!
I'm glad Lori sent us a letter to remind us that we won't please everybody. There's no way you can please that many people. So, I decided to please myself. Since I LOVED the pieces I had to work with, I thought I might like the end result, too...

I was right! I do like my finished 'Birdie Necklace'.

I like the shapes and textures. I like the sparkly turquoise crystals and the pink glass rounds. I like the unique wood shapes. My favorite metal is copper, so I was able to throw myself wholeheartedly in to finding copper bits to match the clasp. I tried to add a couple other beads, but nothing matched the simple woodsy elegance of the pendant, beads and clasp. The only pieces I added from my stash were the two copper chains- the heavy chain around the back of the necklace and the lighter chain I used to make a bail.

There were several new pieces/ideas I hadn't worked with before:

1) The color pink= I admit it. I avoid pink. I rarely like it, and it has very negative connotations for me. Girlieness and popularity and school stuff. Blech. But I really liked the shape of those pink glass rounds.

2) The glass rounds= I've never worked with glass rings. I've used some large metal rings, but never glass ones. And I was excited to see what I could do with them. I've seen that beading-wire braid before, and thought it was perfect to try with this necklace.

3) The ceramic focal= I love ceramic pieces, but I've never found anything quite like Pamela's pendants. They are light yet earthy. Rich in color and texture, but decorated with light & airy colors. I loved the whimsy of this birdie.

My birdie necklace doesn't look as beautiful in this next picture, but the whole thing is laid out and visible from top to bottom.

Thank you for visiting My Place! I hope you enjoyed the beads and the big reveal. =)
Return HERE, for Lori's partner list to continue on your blog hop journey.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leaf Bracelet in Red

I love working on my leaf bracelets. I love creating the leaf component. I love choosing, stringing and braiding the beads & chain. I love watching customers try them on.

My red bracelet was the last one from the summer.

However, I have one more leaf component to put together into a bracelet, and then they'll be gone until the spring when I can get back into the metal-smithing shop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


For about the last week I've been a little moody and I kept thinking about the 'Good Old Days'... My family down in Oregon, our church-family in Seattle, my college friends from UAF, my Company-family (the drama team I traveled with for 5 years). I was thinking how much I miss all those people, and how much I want to go back to those times and do things better ('cuz I hope I'm a little more grown up, and can make better choices!)

I even ended up in a silly argument with my husband on Saturday. About money and financial decisions and blah-blah-blah... And yes, I started the argument, and it got a little heated. But we got it worked out, we apologized, made up and we're okay now...

It wasn't until I was watching one of the 9/11 reports Sunday night that I finally figured out what was going on. I was focusing on my relationships, all the loss (and my life has had enough leaving to create a lot of loss) I'm thankful for all the amazing experiences I've had, but sometimes it's shocking to look at how much my life has changed over the years.

And I've been feeling sad that I can't go back in time to those precious moments and enjoy them again. That I can't go back to travelling and performing. That I don't even have the time to perform in local productions. That I don't teach drama anymore. That I don't have the freedom I had in Seattle and Fort Worth. I've been wallowing in my 'might-have beens' and my 'wish-I-coulds'...

I believe there are very few things that are eternal- God and our souls (the part of us that holds our personality & inviduality, memories & experiences). That's it. Everything else will pass- our stuff, our accomplishments, our money. In the end all we will have will be the eternal things.

I want to focus on what matters- my relationships with those around me, and my relationship with Jesus. I want to spend my limited resource (ME- my time and energy) on what is precious and valuable. Not on what will go away...

song- Blessed Be Your Name

I just learned that the song Blessed Be Your Name, written by Matt Redman and his wife Beth was born out of the times after 9/11.

"'Blessed Be Your Name' stems from the story of our lives," Matt explains. "Both Beth and I had tough upbringings—a lot of different issues to do with fathers—and over the years we've come to realize that worshiping God is a choice, and the best choice we'll ever make."

Matt and Beth were on sabbatical in the U.S. during the September 11 terrorist attacks. They wrote "Blessed Be Your Name" while in the shadow of those tragic events.

"It struck me how little a vocabulary we have in church worship music to respond appropriately in dark times of life," Matt says. "We all face seasons of pain and unease. And in those times we need to find our voice before God. The church, and indeed the world, needs songs of lamentation."
(I found this quote HERE.)

I loved the song before, but understand it in a new and fresh way now that I know it's history...

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Bead Soup Blog Party

Look at this map!

I'm so excited to be part of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My Bead Soup!

My bead soup is here!!! And I love it!

Just look at these fabulous pendants from my amazingly talented partner:
Pamela Petry of Seeing is Believing
Look at that birdie (top right)! I like the other two, but I'm in love with the bird.

And look at my bead soup!!!
I'm so looking forward to diving into these beads and creating something lovely.
I love all the turquoise- the flowers, the crystals, and the glass rectangles.

And the wood! Look at all those fun shapes.

Come back September 17 and see what I create!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party Partners

For the list of Bead Soup Blog Party September 2011 participants and blogs, please go HERE.

Okay, I tried to do this really cool post with all the partners listed, but I could NOT get my computer or Blogger to cooperate. Instead of a neat & attractive list, I got this huge scrawly lengthy mess. And I tried to edit it, and for whatever reason could not achieve success.
I'm sorry. I wanted to have all the partners right here, easy to find, and then when somebody got to my site, they could just go down the list to the next partners... But I absolutely could not make my computer choose to participate.

Pioneer Park

Today was our final day for working at Pioneer Park!

Much as I love the quiet time of going in to the little cabin on Monday to sell stuff and perhaps to bead or read, I am delighted to have the day back. Now I will be home for my husband's days off and we can spend some time together.

The only bad thing about our summer jobs is that we both do retail/tourist stuff. Which means we rarely get days off, and if we do they are never the same day.

So all summer he has had Monday off, and I have worked on that day. Not that moms really get a 'day off', but I wish I had a day with Jake. A whole day with little to nothing planned... or to go for a long drive just Jake and me.