For where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:21

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Star Carol

My Star Carol ornament is in honor of Carol Ann Risher, the artist who hand crafted the beautiful art bead that I was so privileged to use.  I came upon some of Carol's ceramic pieces at a little unheralded bead show in Ballard Washington a couple of months ago and, when I dug it out of my stash, thought it spectacularly perfect for this blog hop.  I generally do bead weaving and bead embroidery but I was some how moved to try a bit of metal and wire working. My Star Carol piece can adorn a lovely evergreen tree as an ornament or a lovely special person as a pendant.  I was so touched to discover, just prior to writing this blog, that Carol had died in December 2010, one day after her 56th birthday.  I can't think of a better tribute for an artist who was born and died in the Christmas season and whose name is the holiday season's song than a beautiful ornament.  So here's to you, Carol Ann Risher . . . thank you for your art and inspiration and all the beauty your life brought to our world.

Many thanks to Heather for her efforts in coordinating this fun event for all of us.  Find some quiet, peaceful moments to enjoy the holiday offerings of our fellow artists whose challenge ornaments can be viewed at the sites below.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless us, every one!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Join the Fun!

It was only moments after signing up for the "I Love Clay" Blog Hop that I began questioning my sanity.  Who in their right mind adds more things onto their December "to do" list?  When I received my kit, even though I loved the beautiful antique pink floral focal by Southern Gal Designs and the assortment of white pearl beads that accompanied it, I had never worked in this color palette before and wasn't sure I could come up with the creative impulse needed to be successful.  Then one evening my incredible daughter arrived for Sunday dinner looking so amazing in a mixture of cream, browns and antique pink and unknowingly became my muse for this challenge.  Rebeccah, or Becca for short, is my youngest child of three and is literally one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life.  Her name means "peacemaker" and she definitely embodies that title in every single facet of her life.  I am so blessed that God trusted me to be her mom and so privileged to also share her life as her friend.  This "peacemaker" cuff bracelet is made with so much love to honor this truly amazing young woman.  I love you more, Beccers!  *poom* 

Becca ~ my peacemaker

Thanks to our always incredible host, Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist, and all the other crazy, amazing artists who somehow found time in their busy holiday schedules to bring more beauty into this world.  Please join me in enjoying their offerings at the individual sites listed below.

Happy and peace-filled holidays to all of you! ~ chris

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyns Creations
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper's Gems
Dolores Raml, Crafty D's Creations
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Mowse Doyle, Mowse Made This
Janine Lucas, Esfera Travel Blog
Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Kelli Nelson, Zenith Jade Creations
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Jasvanti Patel, Jewelry by Jasvanti
Candida Castleberry, Sugar Spun Beadworks
Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out

Saturday, November 16, 2013


  Nov. Blog Hop

I had so much fun with all of you on the Summer Color Surprise blog hop that I couldn't resist joining this one despite knowing that my schedule was already so full.  I tried to be prudent by ordering the smallest kit thinking that less beads would make the challenge so much easier . . . oh my, not so!  I received five beads that were all so different from each other that I couldn't imagine what to do with them.  I need structure!!!  I need direction!!!  I need a pattern!!!  (sigh)  I took these beads everywhere, looking at them in different lighting and in a variety of settings but nothing came to me.  I was doomed . . . 

So I went sailing.  On the boat the only book I happened to have was Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery which I had never bothered to open because I just knew I would never do anything that crazy.  But it was the only book I had to read and Sherry promised that this was the perfect medium for the creative, restless soul and . . . well . . . honestly . . . it just kind of possessed me.  I was definitely out of my league and in way, way, WAY over my head.  I seriously had no idea what I was doing or even how to start but I tried hard to embrace the ideals of spontaneity and freedom that the book espoused.  Sherry suggested that one start with the focal bead and let it tell you what the final piece wanted to be.  My focal was a beautiful little sea turtle (White Clover Kiln) and he truly spoke to me and guided my hand and heart in this humbling but growth-filled first attempt at bead embroidery.  In addition to the four other incredible beads (by Grubbi) from my kit, I used only what I had in my stash and this is what I created ~

This piece depicts the baby sea turtle's initial heroic struggle as it travels from it's onshore nest to the ocean, a large number falling prey to natural predators.  I named my piece endangered because, sadly, even those arriving safely to their ocean home are gravely affected by man-made causes . . . pollution and global warming.  As a scuba instructor and lover of our beautiful undersea world, I am passionate and fully committed to its conservation and preservation.  A percentage of all wanderware sales is donated to Project Aware - a movement of scuba divers whose mission is to protect the ocean planet one dive at a time.

Instead of jewelery, I am mounting this piece on a beautiful leather box that interestingly has a clock inside.  Perhaps this reminds us that time is running out on our ability to protect and preserve so much of our planet.
I am interested in auctioning endangered and donating 100% of the proceeds to Project Aware.  Any suggestions on how to do this effectively would be greatly appreciated.

scuba welcome

Thank you Lisa Lodge for this opportunity to truly be a "creator" and to all these amazing artists whose creations inspire me daily.  Check out their Lampwork and Clay challenge pieces at the sites below.

Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Annette Rivers, MamaOwl's Mess
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha's Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Linda Aspenson Bergstrom, TBD
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs
Kathleen Douglas, Washoe Kat's
Connie Tipton, TBD
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
Michele Dotson, Star Jewels
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Jennifer Clifford, TBD
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyns Creations
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper's Gems
Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles

Friday, August 23, 2013

Caribbean Memories ~ Summer Color Surprise

I was so excited when I received my kit for this project as it was filled with beautiful shades of blue beads in an incredible array of shapes and sizes.  I was headed down to the amazing blue waters of the Caribbean for the summer to teach scuba diving and knew that my life there would be filled with inspirations galore to help me create an amazing piece.  I expected to be blogging tonight from the tiny island of Utila (which is just off the coast of Honduras) to share with all of you the fruits of my summer labors.  Sadly it was not to be . . .
Two days before leaving, I received a call that an ailing brother (who I had been caring for the past three years) was failing and had very little time to live.  After hastily switching gears, I found myself on a plane to the vineyards of Santa Rosa California instead of to the coral reefs of the Caribbean.  I have been here ever since.
The privilege of walking a journey such as this with someone you love so dearly is incredibly profound and I have daily felt honored and blessed to be here with my brother, Jeff.  It is also extremely difficult in every way and definitely not conducive to artistic productivity.  Or so I thought!  At one point, I decided I needed to play the "Life Happens" card that was offered to all of us in our initial Blog Hop letter and Lisa very graciously took me off the list.
In the quiet, introspective moments of my days however, I found my sad heart responding to all the beauty surrounding me and I was flooded with fond memories of my beautiful Caribbean ocean.  I remembered how the intense tropical sun reflects so spectacularly off the surface of the sea . . . how the incredible blueness of the water changes to compliment the surrounding depth . . . how precious sea treasures lie gently cradled upon the soft, sandy bottom . . . how free, happy and at peace I feel when I am at one with the sea.  And so, I picked up my beads and began . . . each stitch a meditation  . . . each tiny bead a singular prayer.  My memories became my art . . . my art became my release.

Thank you Lisa for your gentle, compassionate spirit and for the incredible therapy you helped me access to support this journey I am on with Jeff.  Thank you also to all my fellow artists for the unique beauty you bring to the world and in particular for the gifts that are being shared today at:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happiest of Days! It's the Un-Birthday Party Reveal!

Having this much fun and meeting so many awesome people has been such a gift!  More than ever the world needs beauty, and celebration of the ordinary and the unexpected.  Thank you Marlene and Shelley for coordinating this effort and motivating all this wonderfulness to transpire.  

My partner for the Very Merry UnBirthday event was Gina Hockett from Snowflake, Arizona.  This woman is super incredible!  A mere couple of days after receiving our partner assignments, Gina underwent surgery for a full knee replacement and was bed-ridden and or house-bound for most of this event.  I was amazed that she would undertake anything besides her own challenging recovery in the weeks to follow and yet she made the most beautiful, sparkle-y necklace and earring set to celebrate my March birthday.  I feel like a princess!!!

Gina also has a real keeper for a husband . . . he is one guy who definitely has his priorities straight and that is to take care of his girl!!!  Way to go, Gina's husband!!! Thank you so much Gina for gifting me with your talent and grace. Getting to know you a bit has been the most precious gift of all!!!

Now Gina celebrates her birthday in February with amethyst as her birthstone color.  I created this simple peyote stitch bracelet with amethyst delicas, used gold seed beads for the trim and a gold sliding clasp.  I embellished it with a filigree fitting mounted with amethyst Swarovsky crystal bicones.  A dangling golden Swarovsky crystal heart, symbolizing our new friendship, was the finishing touch.  My pictures unfortunately didn't capture the beautiful gradated purple tones of these beads, but I was very happy to send this gift to my new special friend to celebrate the day of her birth.

Thanks to all my fellow artists whose work inspires me greatly.  Please visit their blog sites also to see all the amazing creations from their hands and hearts. 

The rest of the 'unbirthday' party artists 

Ali McCarthy

Alicia Marinache

Anzia Parks

Audrey Belanger

Cheri Reed

Cheryl Dunham

Chris Eisenberg

Christine Schlicht

Cynthia Machata

D Lynne Bowland  
(you are here)

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Gina Hockett

Ginger Bishop

Gloria Allen

Janeen Burlingame

Joana Perez Stribel

Lori Schneider

Mary Govaars

Mischelle Fanucchi

Paula Gaskill

Renetha Stanziano

Robin Reed

Sherry Baun

Shirley Moore

Sierra Barrett

Susan Bowie

Susie Harris

Mowse Doyle

Cindy Muse

Ellie Grossman

Marlene Cupo - host

Shelley Graham Turner - host

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My First EVER Bead Soup Reveal!

Oh happy day!!!  The day of my very first Bead Soup Reveal!!!  I have been blessed to be a part of this amazing artist colony for the past couple of months and this experience has taken me to a new level in my personal artistic endeavors.  I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our coordinator Lori Anderson whose vision and work on this project has been nothing less than super-human.  Bravo to you Lori and my heartfelt thanks!  

I was also blessed with the amazing Alice Craddick as my partner.  This incredible woman has faced so many difficulties with so much grace in the short time I have known her.  Despite all of her challenges, she still managed to get her project posted ahead of me and it is so very lovely.  Who knew that my humble bead offering could be turned into masterpieces such as hers!!!  You can visit Alice's blog at:   Bravo and many thanks to you, dear Alice!!!  You are my very first Bead Soup partner and will always hold a special place in my heart!

As a relatively new beader, I found myself incredibly humbled and challenged by the task of creating something unique and enduring out this soup I received from Alice.

I struggled greatly with the orange and green bugle beads and decided early on that I did not want to do a holiday related piece.  The red jade focal was so gorgeous and I was terrified that I wouldn't do it justice.  I struggled greatly with "beader's block" and even felt at one point that I would need to pull out of this project.  I know however, that one of the most profound strengths we can develop in our lives is the ability to face our fears and Churchhill's words ~ "never give up . . . never surrender" ~ have guided me through many of my journey's challenges.  And so I looked with new eyes and renewed faith and found possibilities that fired my creative imaginings.  I saw warmth in the rich hues of the seed beads, tenacity and enduring strength in the bronze beads and fittings, and comfort and security in the duel clasps.  This new found inspiration motivated me to try new techniques ~ Kumihimo beaded braiding, metal working and wire-wrapping ~ and it was through these endeavors I ultimately satisfied my personal challenge for this project.  The name of my piece is GENESIS because it truly symbolizes the evolution of my artistic abilities.

Thanks to all the other artists whose work has been so incredibly inspiring to me.  For your own generous dose of inspiration, check out all their amazing creations at:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Soup's on!

I was motivated by the promise of spring when I selected the soup ingredients for my new friend Alice!  Lavender and silver bugle beads with lavender seed beads and translucent green drops create an subtle stock.  In the foreground are beautiful swirling carved stone pieces by an amazing (but sadly newly deceased) artist in Madras Oregon.  The focal is a silver wire-wrapped heart I selected to symbolize this new friendship and a little prayer box that was added after reading Alice's blog.  The very boring, but at least shiny, clasp is a statement of my "newby" status in the beading world.  After seeing some of Alice's work online, I know that her finished piece with this humble offering will be amazing!

And this lovely pile of wonderfulness is my soup from Alice.  Oh I can tell that this girl is up for a challenge!  I have been simmering this soup in my mind since receiving it a while ago and I must admit that I feel a bit out of my league!  This is exactly what I needed though to help me grow as an artist and develop aspects of beading technique that are not in my repertoire.  The focal is a beautiful hexagon cut red jade and the larger round stones are carnelian.  The pile of multi-sized rich, rustic colored seed beads has captured my imagination and they are complemented nicely by the bronze toned fittings and clasp.  Orange and green bugle beads lend an earthy, garden feel to the mix and the soup is seasoned with a pinch of interesting, spicy tidbits.  Oh my goodness . . . thank you so much to my wonderful partner for this incredible concoction. I will try my best to do justice to it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Soup Friends

A beading party with 500 new friends and I am invited!  On February 2nd I will get my special partner with whom I will exchange "soups" made with wonderful and magical ingredients . . . BEADS!  My challenge is to create a piece using these beads and perhaps a few from my personal stash and then share it on this blog (my reveal date will be assigned soon) with all my new friends!  I have resolved this year to challenge myself more deeply so I will continue to grow as an artist and person . . . this is my very first challenge!  Special thanks to Lori Anderson, the coordinator of this amazing project.  Follow the link below for more information on this wonderful craziness and stay tuned to my blog for updates on my creative imaginings!