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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Poochy The Christmas Pup - Part One

As I said yesterday, this was a book from my childhood. I haven't seen it in years, and am thrilled to have it again. It's so 1950-something! You can click on the pictures to make them bigger and easier to read. Read it to yourself and your kids in a nice Mommy Voice... that's how it sounds in my head. I hope you enjoy it! Here we go...

More tomorrow. Can you stand the suspense?

After The Storm

Well that was fun. It snowed all day. Here's the last picture of yesterday afternoon. I like the pumpkin's hat...... This morning the sun is out and the snow is sparkling like diamonds. I was worried about the goats last night, but they've gotten very fat and have grown thick winter coats. They were happy to see me this morning, and seemed to be just fine. They're always happy when I bring them water that isn't frozen (I'm carrying buckets this week!), and dry leaves and hay. A crust of bread makes me very popular with the goat crowd. This is Sam, wondering if there might be some bread in my pocket...

Lucy is enjoying a chance to wear her "coat". It's a triangle shawl sort of thing I knitted for her, with long ties to wrap around and hold it on. I stand at the door and say, Do you want your coat? She wags and waits for it, so I guess she likes it...

And here's a shot from out in the yard, next to the goat pen. The white fog on the roof is actually Taos Mountain, looking like she's crusted with sugar. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

And now, I have a surprise for you! I recently found a copy of a favorite childhood book from Christmas long past. Poochy The Christmas Pup came out of the family Christmas boxes every year, and my sisters and I loved it so much. I don't know if our old book is still around, and because it's been out of print for a long time, it was hard to find a copy, but I did it! Gotta love the internet. So I thought I'd share it with you here. It's a short book, so I'll do a page or two a day. I hope you enjoy it! Here's the cover for starters... see you tomorrow with the beginning of the story! Bring the kids!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I never quite believe the weather guy when he promises snow, but this time he was right! I'm glad I sort of believed him yesterday, and brought in plenty of fire wood. We heat our whole house with wood, so having to run out to get more in the middle of the night is not a lot of fun. I woke up early... too early... again this morning, and just waited for the sun to come up and the goats to come out of their little house. They seem to like the snow. They were even eating it. Kids will be kids. And Rick is feeling a little better today. Not a lot - he's back in bed at 9:30. But if he feels like power-lounging on the couch later, he'll have a very nice view. I got him some guy movies so he'll be entertained while I haul wood, feed the goats, and make beads. OK... I'm whining a little bit... I want my Lovely Assistant back! But it's not his fault. I know he's not having fun.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My poor baby Rick has been sick since Friday. It must be the flu, because he feels so crummy, and has no oomph at all. But as you can see, he's hopeful. We watched the newer version of "Miracle on 34th Street" last night, and to show he believes, he wore his Santa hat to bed. Yes, of course he has a Santa hat! He wears it a lot actually, because it's warm and friendly and makes people smile. That's just the kind of guy he is. So if you have a moment, it might help if you all beam some nice healing thoughts his way. Since he's a Believer, it will help!

Monday, November 27, 2006

the early bird...

OK, so we expect cold weather in November, but I still find myself caught a little by surprise. There's a mean old arctic blast working it's way into New Mexico, and every time I go outside, I think - Eeeewwww! Too cold!!!! I was up before the sun and the goats this morning because poor Rick is still not feeling well, and I knew I had a busy day ahead of me. But getting up early almost always has benefits. I get most of the coffee when I'm the first one up, and I also got a good long look at this beautiful Mountain-Something-Jay... we call them Pinon Jays around here, and Rick and I call them the Lost Birds because of the sad little wait-for-me cry they make. I got the camera too late, but the birdbath was packed full of them this morning. Everything else in the neighborhood is frozen at that time of day, but thanks to my friend Cathy in Oregon, we have this nifty electric heated birdbath. We are ever so popular in bird circles!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Taos Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving! It started on Wednesday, with Chef Lulu in charge of the family feast. She did it all, and it was fabulous! Julia and her crew arrived Thursday morning for a delicious baked egg-cheese-green chile dish, and the Macy's Parade on TV. It's also the day we get out the Christmas Tree Mugs my Granny gave me years ago, and start the seasonal glugging of egg nog. Ahhh!

Julia got a darling new haircut... I'm thinking of copying!

Jake and his dad, Rick, played with toys while we got breakfast going...

After breakfast, our first set of guests headed out for their second gathering with friends on the mesa. We had the middle of the day to visit with the goats and get ourselves organized for round two...The dinner crowd was Rick and me, Lauren and Tyler, Karena, and Eleanore, Tom, and little Elizabeth. Lauren stayed in charge of cooking, even in these shoes!

Waiting around for the cooks to do their thing can get boring...

... so we got out another cool toy!

Finally... it was turkey time. Everyone jumped to work carving and making gravy, while Chef Lulu looked on (in a more comfortable outfit). She looks pretty satisfied. As far as I'm concerned, the job is hers!I guess all the photographers got tired, because there's nothing of the rest of the evening until Eleanore spotted this random blob of mashed potato on the table. We named it Mashed Potato Dog, and took many pictures of it... I still have it, but Mashy is getting a little ... crumbly...

Anyway, from my family to you and yours, Happy Holidays! Here we go!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanks and Giving

A while back someone wanted to know my "secrets"... like how did I get my website noticed, and how long did it take to start making money making beads. Tricky questions, but the simple answer is that my "overnight success" took quite a few years and a lot of hard work. Still does. But the real answer to the money question is easy. I told her - You know, I can honestly say I didn't start making good money until I started giving money away. It's true. You've heard it before, but it needs to be said again and again. You get what you give. It's common to think that we barely have enough for ourselves, and we feel the need to hold on tight to every little bit. But there's another way to look at it...

Hold your hands out in front of you. Imagine a 100-dollar bill in each hand. Close your hands and hold on tight. No matter what, don't let go of those bills! Promise? OK! Now while you're holding on so tight, a breeze blows in, and a fluttering of leaves becomes a downpour of zillions of 100-dollar bills. But because you can't let go of the ones you have, there's no way to catch any of the fortune falling from the sky... See what I mean? Only by letting go do our hands become open to receive. It took me a long time to learn this. And now I live by it. Try it and see what happens. And it doesn't only apply to money. It's the same with smiles and hugs and compliments - the things we all have to pass around freely. You'll see!

My cousin, the fabulously talented painter/poet/writer, Mitzi Miles-Kubota, just sent me a link to Comic Relief 2006. Many of us aren't aware that the survivors of Hurricane Katrina are still struggling to find their way out of the horrible mess they were left with. After over a year, they still need help with the basics of everyday life. It's just wrong in a country like this. It's inexcusable. And we can help. Rick and I have causes all over the world that are important to us. Because we aren't wealthy philanthropists, we try to spread what we give around as effectively as we can. This month, it seems appropriate to help someone close to home. Thanksgiving is an all-American holiday, and a lot of people won't even be able to celebrate it. Anyone reading this is blessed in more ways than we can count, if only because we have access to a computer and electricity, and because we can read, and because we probably have something to eat on Thursday...

I hope you'll join me in Giving Thanks for what we have. Share a little, or a lot, and see how good it makes you feel! Open your hands and see what falls into them...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

And the winner is...

I'm so pleased with the responses I got on the Teapot Bead contest! I think everyone should win. Really, I do. But the first-ever winner of the Teapot Of Kindness Award is... drumroll please... Adriana Radwan!!! As I said, every single one of you deserves to win, but I chose Adriana because I think the purity of unexpected, selfless giving is something we need to honor and encourage in our collective children. Those little random acts of anonymous kindness are what I want to inspire with this little contest. And I enjoyed it so much, it's going to become a regular thing. Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to get going on those good deeds! I'll make another Teapot, and when you see it posted here on the blog, it's time to tell your tales of kindness!

Congratulations Adriana! As always, children can teach us a lot about who we need to be as grown-ups!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beads in Oprah Magazine!

I was flipping through my December issue of "O", and in one of the gift-giving sections, I spotted Bead Pens! The very same pens we've been using for a few years now, all put together with lampwork beads. Thrilling! The beads weren't great, and the website listed is very disappointing... BUT, any time handmade beads are out there in the Big World, beyond just the Bead World, it's cause for celebration. I have a dream... that one day everyone will know about what we beadmakers do, and we'll "hit the streets" in a more mainstream market. That will mean more good beadmakers will be able to make a living at what they do, and the crummy lazy beadmakers will wander off as the bead-buying public becomes better educated about beads, and demands better quality.

Meanwhile, I haven't done up any BeadPens for a while... I think I'll order a few and make some special beads for them. Since Oprah's giving us the promo, we'd all be smart to jump on that board and ride the wave!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Who Wants This?

This cute little teapot is up for grabs. It's sweet and adorable, but not perfect, so I won't sell it. But I can give it away, and I know someone will love it! It's quite wearable, as a little aromatherapy vessel, but I've ribboned and wired it as a Christmas ornament.

So let's see who's reading my blog... I'm not posting anything about this on my website. Arghhhh! I feel my Inner Beadist Pirate surfacing! Here's what we'll do...
This is only for those of you who are already on my Beadist Mailing List. For your chance to win the Teapot Bead, you need to post a comment here (not an email to me), telling us all why you deserve to have this bead. The catch - NO sad tales of woe! I want sweeping (but brief!) stories of your Beadist Heroism. Tell me about a great or small selfless act you've done for someone else. Don't be shy. But if you are shy, you can enter for someone else who's done a Good Thing that needs to be recognized. (Of course, they'll win the bead!) I know there's good news out there, and we all need to hear it!

You have until I get to the computer on Monday morning to tell your stories. Keep them short and to the point. Rick and I will pick one that makes our hearts sing, and send the bead to the winner. I hope this works. I want to do it often!

Leonard Cohen

Have you seen, "I'm Your Man"? - the new Leonard Cohen tribute film? All thumbs are up in our house. See it! Not a big Cohen fan? There's still time. The man is too amazing for words. Words are his domain, and there's no use trying to out-do him. Just see the movie. We saw it at the local community theater a while back, and ran right home to pre-order it on DVD. It finally arrived yesterday, so we watched it last night. Again, it took my breath away... guess it will tell you a lot about what I think is cool...

I'm posting beads today, so think I'll end here. I have a growing list of things I want to talk about, including words and the English language and how pitifully little of it we actually use... any language experts out there? Is it possible to really know an entire language? We'll get back to that later...

Happy Friday y'all. See you back at the Beadist Ranch later...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bead Shows...

I used to do a ton of shows each year. In the beginning, back in Seattle, I started with farmers markets and small craft fairs. I quickly made a "no schools or churches" rule for myself, and moved on to juried craft fairs. There were a couple of summers that I did 12 shows over a three month period. Talk about exhausting... but it was the best way to get myself and my work out there. I finally realized that there were actual bead shows. Shows that weren't juried, and attracted people who knew something about beads, and wanted beads, and were even slightly crazy about beads. That was like finding Home. I did those for several years, until I got kind of tired, and had built up a nice little following and mailing list. That's when I started to concentrate on my website, and gradually stopped doing shows...

A lot of people think my website happened overnight, and want to know how I achieved my instant success. Ha! One day I'll write a book called The Ten Year Plan For Instant Success. I know I make it look pretty easy, but the truth is, it took a really long time to be able to make a living on my website alone. My quickest advice is for everyone to start a website right now, and then just dink around with it, and nurture it for a few years... and definitely keep your day job. Instant is fine for soup, but not for art.

Anyway, I'm down to only one show a year now. I do the ISGB Gathering, which is really a beadmaker's conference with a one-day bazaar. It's great for me because I get to meet people, see old friends, sell a few beads, and see a new city each year. This year it was Kansas City, next year it will be Minneapolis... places I probably wouldn't go otherwise. But sometimes... only sometimes... I miss the shows. I was looking through the new issue of Beadwork magazine this morning, and found myself lingering over the list of classes being offered at the Bead Expo coming up in April. Although I never even consider selling at the big shows anymore, I'm starting to think it would be fun to just go and hang out and take a class or two. Not beadmaking though! I'd take things like Susan Lewis's PMC class,

or Mary Tafoya's "Beaded Artist Trading Cards",

or Susan Lenart Kazmer's "Getting Attached: Prayer Box Series".

Maybe someday... in my free time... that illusive point in the future when the kids are done with school, I get a sabatical, write that book I keep thinking about, and travel around learning things that just happen to interest me... Meanwhile, if you live in the Bay Area, go to Bead Expo and tell me all about the classes you take. I want to know which ones are good when I finally get around to doing it myself!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


How wonderful to get so many loving little notes from you yesterday! Thank you for your good wishes. Long live LOVE! We had a great time at Joseph's Table. I've mentioned the restaurant before, but in case you missed it, we really like this place. If you're ever in Taos, it's not to be missed. This was our second time there - it's a little pricey, so not an everyday sort of place for folks like us - and we sat in one of the darling little cubby holes set in along the far wall. They call them the "Love Shacks" (click the restaurant's website link to see a pic), so it seemed right! I brought the camera, and was sure to put in a fresh battery before we left the house. Alas... it must have been an old, worn out fresh battery, because it let me take only one picture. OK, I can roll with it. Our official 14th Anniversary Photo is of the table top, which I took because it had beads painted on it. A table made just for us, the original Taos Beadists!

Monday, November 13, 2006

For All Time...

Rick and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary today. Yes, I know it's the 13th. In fact, we actually got married on a Friday the 13th! It's turned out to be our lucky day.

We must have looked like total lunatics to our families back them. We had just moved to Seattle from Nevada, dragging along three young kids and starting over in so many ways. We were living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment, with all three kids sharing a room. They had bunk beds and a third mattress that slid under the bottom one for storage in the daytime. We were looking for a bigger place, but didn't have jobs yet. We had only just decided to buy a pizza shop and create our own jobs. Back in Nevada, Rick had been sort of an executive social worker, and I was a dental assistant. We both knew we had to do something different, so pizza seemed like a good idea! We needed to get some money coming in first, and then think about a bigger place to live.

With all that going on, planning a wedding seemed like more than we could handle. So we put together a super small ceremony and didn't include anyone but the kids. We didn't want a church wedding, but also didn't want a courthouse deal, so we settled on the Aquarian Foundation, which is in a big old house on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Kind of a weird and creepy place, with portraits of the "elders" lining the walls, a huge pile of crystals forming the "altar", and a woman named Doris, who performed the ceremony. They're seriously into reincarnation there, and I'll never forget Doris looking us in the eye and saying, "When you're married in our church, you're married
for all time...". We looked at each other and said, OK by me, and that was that.

We dropped the kids off at Rick's sister's, and headed for the ferry to Victoria, BC. We only had a weekend for our honeymoon, but it was so pretty and romantic there. We stayed at the famous Empress Hotel and strolled the streets, shopping and eating and alternating between hot lattes and cold beers. The pizza shop deal was in the works, so it was much on our minds. We didn't have a name for it yet, and needed to settle on something so we could get the business license and signs and menus all put together. We tried on every name that floated through our minds... Fast Car Pizza... Red Shoe Pizza... Blue Sky Pizza... Crazy People Pizza... and finally, over beers in a nice little pub, one of us tossed out
Honeymoon Pizza. We instantly recognized it as the little piece that would tie our whole new-life-puzzle together. Honeymoon Pizza was a big success, but that's another story for another time. An eight year long story that shaped our entire stay in Seattle, and somehow led us to Taos.

And here we are, fourteen years later, still happy with the idea of being together
for all time... We won't be eating pizza tonight. We'll go someplace special like Antonio's or Joseph's Table, pleased with what we've done so far, and looking forward to what comes next.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

new and improved...

This morning I logged into my blogger account, and was greeted by the exciting news that the newer, better, faster version of Blogger Beta was ready for me to switch to. How very wonderful. I really needed another little chore today. Could have put it off, but I figured I'd just get it over with. Posting pictures on the old version has been a sluggish little dance, so maybe this will be worth the effort. The switch seems to have gone smoothly, and it only took me a few minutes of panic to track down where my blog actually is now. So this is the test. Here we go...

A quick picture of the goats eating breakfast on this beautiful fall morning, and I'll be on my way. They didn't seem to like the pumpkin, but knowing them, they'll like it later, when we move it just out of reach. I hope I don't feel the same way about my old version of blogger, because they said there's no going back. Onward!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

moving on

Everybody OK?
I needed to get away from politics and back to normal... haha! Normal! That's a good one. But anyway... I posted beads today, which is always a lot of work, but I have to remember that it's also pay day and just shut up about it! I love that people buy what I love to make. I have to say, I know how fortunate I am. Thanks! Thanks!!

I've been getting some emails from YouTube, letting me know that people are subscribing to be notified when I post new videos. That's so funny! Now I feel pressured to be a filmmaker too. But around here, there are always interesting things happening that are even more interesting if they're moving. So tonight we have Lucy's film debut. She's very excited. We needed four takes to get it right. I think she did the out takes on purpose so she could get extra cookies. That's my girl!

I'll set up the scene for you... Every evening the cats are fed first. One can of stinky wet food split between them - they'll never admit they have limitless dry food all day... Lucy likes cat food too, so she gets to clean out the can. When she's done, she does her very best trick. She throws the can away! Go to my YouTube channel to see for yourself! If that doesn't work, try this link. It might not be running just yet... these things seem to take more time than I want them to...

Carry on...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We did it!

Yesterday's elections showed what we really think in this country. Time for a change. Time for a lot of changes. My faith in this country is much stronger than is was a few days ago. Way to go America!

In the words of the ever-splendid Anne Taintor...

... a little later... I have to add to this... Rumsfeld "resigning" is my idea of a good time! He has a house in Taos you know. I was in the same room with him once - a gallery thing, crowded with very polite people who really just wanted him to go away. All I could think was that if there's a target anywhere on this world, it's him, and I stayed on the other side of the room. I suppose now he'll be in town more, with his new free time. I guess if he showed up at my door, I'd invite him in, give him some wine and cheese and maybe a nice heart bead, and then sit him down and ask him, Honey, what were you thinking????

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My hope for the results of today's elections...

... that's all I'm going to say...
for now...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Flipping through my new copy of Ornament magazine yesterday (the 30th anniversary issue - vol.30 no.1), I was surprised to come across this ad from the ISGB. OK - I even let out a little squeal. It's always fun to see my own work in print. And this is especially cool because I'm there with none other than the amazing Art Seymour. There's a back story to this...

Art happens to be a long time friend of my uncle and aunt, David and Robin Miles. They go way back to the good old hippie days in Nevada. When I started making beads ten years ago, I was pretty dazzled by the connection. I got Art's card from Robin, who had just shown me an amazing strand of Art's chevron beads, and wrote him a letter introducing myself and humbly asking for any words of wisdom he might have to offer. Either he didn't get the letter - it was on paper... this was before I had email or even a computer! - or he did get it and ignored me. I'll probably never know, and can't guess what he was or wasn't thinking. But it kind of hurt my feelings in a silly newbie way...

I've still never met Art, though he's still a friend of the family, and I still tremendously admire those beads he makes. At this point, ten years later, I'm as tickled as can be to appear in this ad, alongside one of the greatest beadmakers in the world. And I realize that I actually did learn something from him. I go to a lot of effort to answer all my email personally. It takes a lot of time. But I feel like it's important to stay connected with those who take the time to write to me. Sometimes I'm super-brief, because I've learned to spot the people who just want whatever it is they think I have. But when I get a letter from someone who's new to beadmaking and asks my advice, I try to give them a thoughtful answer. They mostly ask the same things, and I write the same answers over and over again. It goes something like this... It takes a lot of time, patience, and practice to make good beads. Make a lot of beads. Make a lot of ugly beads, because that's the way to stretch and learn. Don't take too many classes, and avoid copying other beadmakers you admire. Close the bead books and go for a walk. Go to an art museum. Go to a movie. Go to a shoe store. Go to a used car lot... Anything can be inspiration for new work. Take your time. Get to know the glass. Find your own style and voice and the bead world will be a much more interesting place...

Funny to come to this place now, to be the one giving advice instead of asking for it. But you know... don't listen to me! Listen to you. Maybe Art Seymour was right to ignore me. When we find the answers for ourselves, they mean a lot more than if someone just hands them to us.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a very cool Mexican holiday that gives us a chance to honor our dearly departed in a most festive way. Rather than thinking of them as dead, it's a day to party with those who have moved to the "other side of the veil". Deborah and Thomas held their third annual Dia de los muertos Poetry Party last night, with Walt Whitman as the honored guest. We all dressed in our best Muertos Party Attire, and had a fabulous time darling. I have a full page of photos on my website, as well as a couple of funny little videos on YouTube. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Space Beads

Not a great picture, but here are two of the Space Beads from yesterday. I'll add silver and take better photos before posting them on my website next week.

Later... here's a better picture of the one on the left. I like the way a little silver dresses up a bead! I think I'll make a few more of these. They make my eyes happy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

lost and found in space

Today was Space Day in my studio. I didn't plan it (planet... haha) that way, but thanks to Michelle in England, who sent me this incredible picture, and to Karena in Taos, who gave me some great new music, I had all the makings of a wildly inspiring day. I used to be freaked out by the idea of space and infinity, and looking up at the night sky would make me kind of nervous. Then one night, a few years ago, I was looking up at the stars and the dark forever of blackness in between, and suddenly I felt like part of it. In that moment, I knew I was safe, and no matter what, I was home. I haven't been afraid of space since. I guess it makes sense. The sky, the stars, the planets, and beyond, aren't any more "out there" than we are here on our sweet little earth. It's all a matter of perspective. Hop over to the first star you see tonight, and we're the ones who are out there. I once read that if the universe (which, by the way, means one song) is infinite, then every single one of us is literally the center of the universe. Cool. Next time someone says, to you, "What do you think you are? The center of the universe?"- you can say, Why yes, as a matter of fact...

Want a new space picture every day? Here's the website:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I know Harlan Simon through the ISGB. He's a lawyer-turned-beadmaker, and the world is a happier, better embellished place as a result. Harlan's beads are wonderful, and Harlan himself is one of my favorite people anywhere. He seems to be sending a lot of folks to my website lately, so I want to return the favor. I think you'll enjoy your visit, especially if you live close enough to visit him in person at one of the many shows he's doing in the Bay Area in November and December. Buy his beads, and tell him I said hello!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween in Taos

Morning seems to be the worst possible time to post a blog...
My theory: Everyone is at work, drinking coffee and secretly blogging at their desks, on the boss's time. That's what I think.

I have a lot of fun pictures from our Halloween adventure, but can't get them to load right now. So I'll go post beads (tons of beads today!), and come back later with a festive intermission. Come back later! I'll be here!
OK - time warp.... I'm back with pictures. It's after 10PM here now, and I think most of the office workers/bloggers in the US have gotten out of my way. It's hard to load pictures when half the country is doing the same thing! But here we are. A little patience and a sense of humor go a long way in E-land.

Now that it's kind of over, I just wanted to show you how much Taos loves Halloween. Every year we head down to the John Dunn shops, where it seems like every kid in town is dressed up and looking for a handout. They get it too! The shop owners dress up and pass out truckloads of candy. It's quite a sight. A real family thing, with parents dressed up alongside their kids, and a lot of "adults", like us, just there to take it all in.

Here I am with baby Sawyer. He's dressed as a lamb. Very cute, but he wasn't convinced. I had to keep pointing out all the things with wings to keep him from crying. Like my costume? The funny thing is, it's a pretty regular outfit for me, except for the striped socks. I save those for special occasions.
I really think I need these shoes to go with them!
This is Sawyer again, with Mom, and Dad. (Shawn and Rachel)

I don't know the rest of these people, but I did like their faces - especially this little guy. He was so happy to smile for the camera! And if I had a little dog, I'd make it dress up. Yes I would.

I think you should all come to Taos next year for Halloween. Really.