December 25, 2007

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

This year has gone by so fast! I can't believe how busy we've all been. I did not want to spoil the surprise in advance but I figured that the ornaments are at their intended destination by now or they will be shortly. This year's theme is leaves and birds. I hope they made it in one piece...

Peace on earth...

December 18, 2007

Ok, Aunt Kookie! Here it is....

Dear Aunt Cookie,
You have been so patient! All I have to say is "this one's for you!" So when you feel up to it, come on out and you pick which one you want or color your own... we'll be waiting!


December 10, 2007

As Joelle says...

"You feel like you have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brakes!" All revved up and going nowhere! I've got the kiln loaded and on and have had my second cup or real coffee and it's like I have all the energy and no place... HEY! I will clean! Ugh! Did I just say that out loud! Well, It's been put out there now I must do it! YUCK! I just want the firing done so I can get all those holiday orders out! I want to play with the fun new pendants. I want the fun new ornaments all wired up and bejeweled so I can send them on their merry way... Yes C.A. I will have photos of the "egg" pendant for your viewing pleasure! Ok. so work first... Got it. Ugh.

If you are in the neighborhood, Art Bead Scene is having its monthly contest. I've donated this months prize...

Here's to taking your foot off of the brakes!

November 28, 2007

I went a little crazy....

More than a little crazy actually! Usually we are thrift store shoppers all the way, with the exception of the holidays. And yes I went a little crazy. At Target. For the kids. I was going to take it easy. Really. But when your better half is saying go for it! It's for the kids! HAVE FUN! So, I did. And now I'm thinking I should take half of it back. And I will. REALLY. I guess I'd better get to all that glazing then...

November 15, 2007

Gobble. Gobble.

Gobble. What is it about the holidays that, for weeks in advance, makes me think that I can have free license with the food? I know there is so much of it out there but I just can't say no. Here is a list of things that have been gobbled by me in recent days: Trader Joe's Ginger Cookies, Trader Joe's Pastry wrapped brie and raspberry jelly rolls, Trader Joe's Confused Chips. Of course all with a good cup o' joe. Tee he hee! This will just keep on rolling until New Years. Dang it! Speaking of Gobbling... We have a family of raccoons living and surviving very nicely on our dog food. I've had to store it in the house for now as they are fond of knocking over everything in the car port to get at it. Above is a photo of one of the little rascals caught in the act. They also like to rumble around on the roof at night. They are not a quite animal.

November 11, 2007

Pack Rat.

It occurred to me today that I am a terrible pack rat. It must run in the family as my father has kept all my drawings from when I was a kid as seen in my last post. I do the same for my kids and can't imagine just getting rid of that precious moment. Is keeping all this stuff for historical reasons or am I just too sentimental to let it go. A bit of both. I also found what has to be, my first beaded necklace. I can clearly remember receiving the heart shaped pendant as a gift from my dad's girlfriend and picking out the tiny pink glass beads (they have since faded to a silvery color) from the local "general" store, a TG & Y. I even remember stringing them on the sewing thread. We lived in a canyon far from our little town and there were no kids around to play with. Entertainment was entirely up to me. Songs sung into an old tape recorder. Walks to the creek for swiming. Making clothes for the family of kittens that lived nearby. But I remember how fun and frustrating stringing the necklace was. The tiny beads eluding the string. I was 6 at the time. Life in a tiny town in the 1970's. Lots of fun to remember and ideas to share with the littleones. The holidays are quickly upon us and with them many opportunities to create... our own history, rituals and many, many things to be packed away for us to share and remember...

November 7, 2007

Ahhh! Dates on the calander are closer than you think!

How do families do it? I have been wondering how in the world do people manage the holidays on a less than Rocker-feller budget? Not that we are an overindulgent group but I have noticed that living expenses are skyrocketing! I am a thrift store gal (Melanie... any room on that sheet for a "Queen of the Thrift" . Always have been, always will be. It's not that I'm cheep or don't understand when to spend the money. I just love a deal and can't always afford to take the kiddies to the toy store. My cherished friend Jennifer and I discuss this all the time. The thrill of the bargain! Her hubby can't stand to hear about her bargain finds and views it as somehow tainted. So we girlishly thrill each other with our latest bargains and how good they were! I'll find myself calling her from the middle of Target leaving bread crumb messages about what our cities store has that she just must have. "JEN! Cute sandals in a size 11 at Target! Call me!"

I tend to make our family gifts and realistically I know the holidays are about sharing time with loved ones and it isn't about the money or gifts but with the holidays looming and our families growing and budgets shrinking, How does your family make it through the holidays? This year has been a wonderful year, don't get me wrong but a little financial planning never hurt anyone! How do you do it?

My dad had found these old drawings from when I was about 7 or 8. As some are holiday related I thought they fit the topic. I do love how I drew everyone as cats! Did you know I changed my name to "Marlane" when I switched schools in 4th grade?!?!

November 6, 2007

Work, work, work.

And play a little too! I took the kidlettes to see "Bee Movie" It was cute and Jerry Seinfeld is great! I couldn't tell if the last 20 minutes were just a bit over the top or I'm completely sleep deprived. Even for an animated feature, I just suddenly couldn't take anymore of the unplausableness of it. Let's just say I liked the first hour and (no pun intended) let it bee. I am still in LOVE with Ratatouille! Give me any movie with France or food in it and I'm all over it! Amalie! LOVE it.

I am so looking forward to Thanks Giving! I want to spend time with my big boy and girl and just make food and sleep in late and visit with Aunt Kookie (She has a lot on her plate) pun intended! My problem is that I stay up too late and then end up not sleeping in. Which requires more and more caffeine to keep me up and running. Then I become a stressed out mess and start having the dang heart palpitations again!!! Vicious cycle... I love my coffee... Speaking of which... Art Bead Scene is having it's monthly challenge and this month (November) it is Coffee Haus! So if you have any beaded coffee related jewelry submit it and you may win a cool prize (see the Art Bead Scene for details!)

I am really pleased with the new little "Frames" that will be coming out of this next firing... Check back for color photos shortly! Happy Fall!!!

October 16, 2007


Ojai Day is days away! I have sent out all my orders and have vowed to get an extra firing done with some fun new earring pieces for this weekend. I love earrings! I've avoided wearing earrings because little hands tend to grab and pull, but I think now that Magnolia is two it will not be problem. They are a fun item to have at a festival too because they are easily portable and really cute! It is good to have some variety too! The new earring designs called "Orbit" and "Eclipse" (can you guess which is which?). There will also be skull charm earrings in hand painted colors and shapes with stars or flowers on them! I can't wait to see how they turn out! I also get to incorporate my fun new semi precious beads too! Well, lots to get done and school is out early all this week...

September 29, 2007

Fall is in the air!

It has been looking, smelling and sounding like Fall! Kid's feet crunching on leaves, pumpkin muffins baking...YAY! I've been thinking a lot about a small vacation for the family. It is hard to take time to get away, especially with two little ones in tow. San Francisco is calling to me...The kids would love the crazy streets, GIANT Bridges, and Ghirardelli chocolate (do you think they make decaf chocolate for the caffine impared?)! I can't wait to take them some day.

Today is about making beads and getting the house in order. My big boy has been home all week with the flu. Fever and a cough. Yucky stuff but he is on the mend. He also lost his second tooth! It had been hanging on by a thread all weekend. He was having cereal for lunch yesterday and about 10 minutes after he had finished and was watching a cartoon, he came back into the kitchen looking around on the floor and his cereal bowl and said "Mom! I think I ate my tooth!" And sure enough, he opened his mouth and no tooth! So I had him make a tooth out of clay to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy. I'm thinking of adding them to the site! We had a good laugh though! Today feels like a "Harry Potter" day. I sometimes put on a good movie to get in a mood. If I really need to kick bead butt I put on "Charlies Angles: Full Throttle". A super fun and funny movie. I love movies. As a kid my Mom always took me to the movies. We lived in a hot and crowded city and it was a great escape from the outside world. It is still a great escape from what ever mood may have taken over or if I need a lift. I'll have to post a pic of the "tooth"!

Last weekend our good friend "Aunt Cookie" AKA CarolAnn, popped in for a visit with her Mary Poppins goodie bag! What doesn't she have in there? She made her amazing "burnt just for Robert" chocolate brownie cookies as well as a plethura of amazing fun goodies for us, not to mention her great company and wit. Maybe we should call her "Aunt Mary Poppins" because she's "pratically perfect in every way" (Another great movie!) Among the protein shakes and natural toothpaste samples were some funky peanuts! They were all stripy and sweet tasting. I love the color and stripes! They are heirloom, shade grown, organic, Equidorian peanuts! Too cool! Together we worked on wire wrapping bead, told stories and had a great time. Aunt Cookie has a wicked memory and more creativity than you can shake a stick at. We love Aunt Cookie.

September 25, 2007

A rough night.

It was a rough one! How do you explain to a two year old that she should be sleeping all night? I'm trying to wean her from night nursing but she's not having it and will spend up to 30 minutes WAILING! I feel like I am torturing her. I may have to give in. At least when I was nursing her at night I was the only one getting woken up. Now the whole neighborhood is probably awake. I've spoken with other parents and have gotten some good advice... A security blanket or other comfort item, showing her how her "baby" can go to sleep. I try to give her water but all that does is have her wake up for that and then still want to nurse. I cuddle her, she kicks. I sing, she screams wildly. I put her in the other room in her brothers unused bed and she flails and kicks, hits her head... UGH! And me on decaf! I thought that maybe my caffeine intake had something to do with it but I don't think so. I can have a little or a lot and it makes no difference. We'll this isn't getting bead made. I have 10 days of work to cram into 5 and I'm finding lots of distractions. Calder and Naomi are always ready for Halloween!

September 21, 2007

Decaf sucks!

Well, it happened... I'm officially on decaf now! Fine. See if I care. Take it all!

It turns out It was all the caffeine making my heart go wonkie! So I'm on decaf (it only has half the caffeine of regular) and told to get more exercise. Yep, I'm right on that. But no real heart problem so to speak. I'm very relieved in spite of my irritation over the coffee thing. Much worse things could happen. Apparently the more people I talk to, the more people say they have the same thing... ok. Is that acceptable? Are we such creatures of habit or so sleep deprived that we will accept a over-caffinated heart as normal? Maybe we all need a nap and to learn to say "no" once in a while.

A friend of mine asked me to create a necklace and bracelet set incorporating some beads that were from a bracelet from a dear relative who had passed on, wore and cherished. The black hematite beads came from her bracelet. I also used labradorite, garnet and chalcedony beads. She picked the main focal pendant style and color and told me to go wild! It is a really meaningful project for me and I hope she loves it!

We finally have a bit of rain! YAY! A bit of thunder and lightnin' as well! I love weather. I mean REAL weather. I suppose if I had to live through a tornado or hurricane I'd change my tune... try living through earthquakes though. Not fun either...

I've been bouncing a few ideas around it my head. Stay tuned!

September 17, 2007

Bunnies and lips and Heart murmers! OH MY!

Ok, just being silly! It seems like everything (myself included) •KNOCK WOOD• is falling apart! My printer took a dive, the kiln is needing some TLC and I've been stressed to the gills! I've been so stressed in fact that I've been having some chest pains. Nothing really dramatic like a heart attack •KNOCK WOOD• but enough to send me to the doctor. It all started about a week go when I was trying to get this last firing done. Fluttery chest is the best way to describe it. If you've ever been stopped at a traffic light next to a truck spewing exhaust and you start to feel light headed and "light in the chest" so to speak... So we were on our way to a surprise birthday breakfast for Robert's mom and in the car on the way there my heart starts racing. The kids are done with their "fun" drive in the car and start in on each other. My heart races more. The traffic and "defensive" driving in the crowded San Fernando Valley send me over the limit and I'm in official panic mode! Robert pulls over and get's me some water and aspirin. I calm down enough to get going again. I was panicking and causing myself to freak! So it is off to the Doctor with me. An EKG this morning looks normal so they drew blood and are setting me up with some 24 hour heart monitor. Fab! And no shower for the 24 hours either! Yum! So I'm at breakfast, asking friends about the the panicky feelings and tight chest and they are all like "join the club!" WHAT? I'm describing my symptoms to the nurse and in a particularly cheery voice, as if we now belong to the same club, she informs me excitedly "Oh yah! I'm having the exact same problem! They just did my EKG yesterday!"

You don't say.

Was I the last person to get the "painful chest is normal" memo?

And the doctor informs me that I may want to cut out my 2 cups of coffee in the morning.... Um. Nope. Not gonna happen. I am a "Weight Wathcher" and have been smoke free for 6 years. YOU CAN NOT HAVE MY COFFEE!!! Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

As my last firing was full, I had to schedule a second firing. Sorry Melanie, your goodies went into this firing and will be to you shortly! This extra firing did give me the excuse to hand paint a few pieces for myself to play with! Wheee!

September 5, 2007

Out of the frying pan...

and into Ojai! We've had 100+ degree heat for more than a week solid. Some days have been 115 degrees! Let's just say it has been hard to put a thought together let alone work. Cranky and surly best descibes my mood lately. See Joelle, I'm not always happy! Crank up mother natures furnace to 115 and it's no more Mrs. Nice Gal! Luckily, they say the heat wave is over for now and the temps will only be in the low 90's today. I am officially ready for fall. Cooler weather, hot coffee and changing folaige. I'm days away from my firing, YAY! I have a few new things that I can't wait to see. The lips and bunnies should be quite fun! Oh! A necklace with lips an bunnies would be funny! Bunny love! Ok. No more heat for me...

I am waiting for my friend Caitriona. We are working on her jewelry tags. We keep planning these "sculpting in wax for silver" dates and they haven't happend yet, so I hope to soon have some new silver designs to work with. New bands for my rings and maybe a pendant or two...

August 23, 2007

Fun new things.

I'm getting closer to the firing date and realizing that my plate is rather full and am busting with new ideas. First, I would have to thank my dear friend and SOON TO BE FELLOW BLOGER (do you think she got the hint?) Joelle, for brainstorming some great new ideas. Her big boy and my big boy are almost the same age (two weeks apart) and her guy just lost his first tooth! Yay!I have to say it is an exciting event and you would never believe such a tiny thing could cause such a fuss as well as so many emotions. She captures it exactly with her poem...


He bounds at me
Mom look!
So I do
And there it is
In the picket fence
Of his upturned smile
A hole
Bloody and ragged.
Come see!
He shouts
So I do
And there it is
A tooth
Impossibly tiny.
A tooth
That almost made me
Give up breast feeding
When he was four months old.
And now this.
I never did like that tooth.

More later on the fun new ideas...

August 11, 2007

It was bound to happen.

I guess all the stress of the week finally caught up with me. I now have the flu with a fever and raw throat. At least my packages have been shipped out so nothing is pressing. I did have a few packages come back underposted. Darn it! I just can't remember the new postage rules. Is it an envelope or a package? The gal measuring it wasn't convincing me that it was oversized! Hmmm... Judgement call. I was supposed to bring my jewelry to a small local event today and spent this week making loads of earrings because I thought they would be well recieved. I almost forced myself to go, I was looking forward to this event but Robert convinced me that I wouldn't be a good idea. Disapointing for sure, but for the better. I guess I will have them for next time. It has been on my project list to add some earrings to the web site so now at least I have the time to photograph them and get them on a page! These are some of the old style earrings. The new ones have wacky wire wraps and no dangling glass beads...

August 8, 2007


It has been quite a week and weekend. My big boy has been sick this week. First with a fever and flu and now a cough. Lots of catch up work to be done around the house like the pile of laundry that is taller than a 6 year old... dead printers, disrespectful neighbors (Yes. We mind if you water our plants and for the third time, stay off our property!). We did manage to have some fun at the county fair. Calder rode the rides, ate the ice cream and won a second prize for his water color titled "Sea Monsters Hand In The Jar". I wonder if anyone reads the titles? No prizes for my photos but it is still fun to see all the great photos and points of view. We had corn dogs, the real reason we go to the fair! My mom has never had a corn dog. Never. Not even accidentally. You just haven't lived. I know they are hideous. I can't help it...Melanie, would you make me a corn dog charm? : ) Mom did win 6 blue ribbons for her poety! Go Mom!

P.S. My girl Noli looked so sweet I had to post her pic to brighten my day!

July 27, 2007

Tom Waits - Telephone call from Istanbul

Getting there is half the fun!

I'm almost ready to begin glazing! Some new star pattern hearts my make their way into this firing....

And I almost forgot to send a shout out to an amazing ceramic bead artist, Melanie of Earthenwood studio, about her big article in Simply Beads magazine and including some amazing ceramic bead artist in her first big article! Go out and grap a copy now... now.... NOW!

July 24, 2007

Happy? Sad? Silly?

Faces. Expressions. Beads! I had a fun idea to do some face beads with expressions. I have a few like "content" and "mischief" but was thinking for a while that this could really be expand on. Like "Sour Puss" a puckered face and "Beaming" with a great big smile. I can see them all on one chain as a bracelet or one to just say "this is how it is today"! Hmmmm...

July 22, 2007

Weekend ends

The weekend is over and we had our share of melt downs. Kids will keep you on your toes and focused on what is important. Mostly them. We had to forgo a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's due to a mean temper tantrum. Several chances were given, none were taken. That is the way it is sometimes. We are learning to use our words and express anger with them and not hit and stomp and kick. It is tough to be a six year old. It is tough to be a 37 year old.

A few ideas made it to paper. A trip to the 99 cent store was enjoyed by all. Found a few kid books, Harry Potter make-your-entire-mouth-blue-gum and batteries. A few beads were made. This months firing is fast approaching and I have many more beads to make. My friend Carol Ann, a wonder gal if ever there was one, did some excellent necklaces and one idea in particular it seems to me needs to be worked out in clay. A great idea of clouds with rain drops is in the works with her blessings to do so.

Here are a few of her fine works... Go C.A., GO!

July 7, 2007

Whew! The ride starts again!

This has been a hectic month! Calder turned 6 and had a great birthday party. Wonderful friends and family all around! Loads to plan with that and orders to mail out. We also started swim lessons this week which is FABULOUS in the heat. With all this fun going on I'm not too quick to jump back into bead making. I received an invitation a few months back to submit photos to Lark books for a up coming book that Tonya Davidson is writing titled "Making Ceramic Beads" to be published fall 2008. The deadline was this past Monday and I had spent the better half of two weeks trying various set ups to "professionally" capture the projects I wanted to submit. I really got put my camera through a work out. Thankfully with all that is going on, my love Robert helped me through the new settings and what not. It looks like we got a few good shots. Hopefully one will be good enough for a book. Here are some photos of the new GLAZED Tarot tiles!

June 28, 2007

Glazing, glazing, glazing...

We were so creative today. Calder made a comic book out of a Oriental Trading Company Halloween catalog and sold it to me for a dollar. Then he sold it to his grandpa for a dollar. I think my five year old had discovered the secret to financial security. Glazing has been going pretty quickly. I have another day and a half to do and then it is time to fire up the old kiln. Old is an understatement. It is in serious need of some TLC. The lid has some serious rust issues as well as the front and the front bricks are cracked. I may need to invest in a new kiln, sooner rather than later. I just invested in a new digital camera. I recieved an invitation to submit "professional" photos of beads for a book being written about ceramic beads. It would be a honor to be included. Now I am panicking about getting a necklace together and taking a great photo. I do photography as a hobby but am feeling pressure to perform. Here are some photos from the new camera...

June 26, 2007

While the mice play....

...and nap. My oldest Calder is out today with a play group to see "Surf's Up" and my youngest Magnolia is napping. I should be able to get a lot done, should being the key word here. Three more "tarot" molds have been carved. Not too shabby! My friend Caitirona, a jewelry designer, was over this morning to work out some ideas for her jewelry tags. Amazing silver work. I'm helping to create tags, business cards and a web site to promote her work and hoping she will give me lessons on silver work. I would LOVE to create some ring bands for my ceramic rings to replace the wrapped silver I use currently, as well as beads for some special pieces. I've always wanted to work with silver. I am so excited!

Here is an example of her work...

June 23, 2007

Happy Summer! Ahhh the weekend....

Time to clean house and freak out about how few beads I've gotten made this week. It was our first full week of summer vacation and I don't know how anyone with little ones makes it through the summer with out either going broke finding fun summer activities or spend all of their time entertaining them yourself! It is a fine line to balance kid time with work time and I'm trying not to "dump" them in front of the boob tube for hours on end. It gets AMAZINGLY hot in the summer here with temps climbing into the tripple digits regularly and I hear tell that this year will be the hottest on record. Maybe we are flying into the sun. Our mornings are spent outside swinging and playing "dodge the cat bombs" in the sand box while I make beads. When the temps climb too high we head indoors for our favorite movies (we have been loving "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Arthur and the Invisibles" very much!).

June 19, 2007

New tarot tile designs

They are just green wear at this point but definately looking good. And feeling good about getting so many new pieces done. It is always fun to open up the kiln and see them glazed....

June 18, 2007

The flowers are in bloom...

at least there is one left on our Matilija Poppy bush in our front yard and it is so beautiful! I am lucky to have captured one on film before it is gone. The drought has taken the blooms away quicker than normal this year. A bead or pendant may be in order...

we are off to enjoy the blooms...

June 16, 2007

First post...

This is my first blog posting.... I may not get much posted if my kids can't keep their hands off each other...

I am working on the new tarot tiles which had just been and idea but I added them to the site so I now have orders to fill.