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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

when you're hot, you're hot

My friend Deborah Rael-Buckley is an amazing artist. We all know it around here, but it's really cool to see her getting some much deserved recognition out there in the bigger art world. There are two great articles out right now - one in Hispanic Magazine, and the other in Southwest Art. Wow! That's big time! And she deserves it. Congratulations Deborah!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ethiopia slideshow

As most of you know, this past November, Rick and I went to Ethiopia with the Cunningham Foundation, to teach beadmaking at Project Mercy. In the three weeks we spent there, we formed close bonds with many of the people at Project Mercy, including the wonderful beadmakers who are working so hard to perfect their art so that they can someday (soon!) support themselves and other programs within the compound. We returned home more excited than ever about helping these wonderful people to help themselves, and found the time was right to start a dream of ours - the Milagro Network, our very own 501c3 non-profit organization. We will continue to work closely with the Cunningham's, and with Project Mercy, as a "little foundation that supports bigger foundations". We plan to return to Ethiopia in November of 2009. In order to gather the necessary funds for such a big trip, we're asking for your help! Please click the button below to make your tax-deductable donation to the Milagro Network. With hard work, and a little help from our friends, we'll once again be able to share our time and talents with an entire community of deserving people. Thank you! Enjoy the photos!

Click the caption icon below to view without captions, or pause any picture for a longer look. At five seconds per slide, it takes about 25 minutes to view our three week trip. Grab a snack and enjoy!

You can also see the slideshow on my website. Click HERE to do that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

my head is spinning

Not long ago, I started making teeny tiny beads, with the idea that knitters and spinners and other string-oriented people might enjoy using them. I gave my friend, Ann-Marie Hillings, a few sets of these "Caviar Beads", and asked her to try them in her handspun yarn. Oh my......... what a very good idea that was. Just look at these gorgeous skeins. She gave me one of them, the rosey pink, and I love it so much, I haven't even wanted to knit it up yet. It's sitting in my Aunt Grace's antique bronze glass bowl, looking like the work of art that it is. Soon I'll make a simple scarf with it. Something that will let the yarn, not the stitches, be the star. You can see more of Ann-Marie's spun wonders at Material Whirled. Her spinner name is Twhirl. Handspun yarn is a feast for your eyes and your fingers. A true delight, with or without beads, but better with beads... like most things.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

wild beads in taos

The ISGB has just sent out a reminder/request for members to take part in "Release A Bead". I was busy with other things last summer when it started, and sort of let it drift right out of my mind. But now it sounds like fun, and since I have a bunch of oddball beads lying around, I think I'll join in.

It's sort of like a Global Easter Egg Hunt. Beadmakers all over the world are anonymously leaving beads in random places, in hopes that whoever finds one will report their discovery on the Release A Bead website.

Be on the lookout for beads packaged in plastic bags, with a card like this attached:

I'm about to release 50 beads into the wilds of Taos over the next week or two. They might turn up almost anywhere! And the Release A Bead site also gives hints as to what other parts of the world you might find beads in. If you find one in Taos, it might be mine, or it might be someone else's. There are several glass beadmakers in town, and we're not putting our names on these in any way. The goal is to raise Bead Awareness, not to advertise ourselves personally. My inner Marketing Expert doesn't quite agree with this, but I told her to just shush and go along with it, because sometimes a little bit of fun is good enough reason to do something.

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy valentine's day

Do you hate Valentine's Day? It's a weird day, filled with pressures. Rick doesn't like it, so I pretend not to. But truth is, I think it's sweet to see how people surprise each other with all kind of lovey silliness. I got Rick a card with a picture of Raggedy Ann pulling her dress up so her "I Love You" heart shows. He took a candy heart out of a bowl on the table, and set it next to my glasses (so I could read it). It said, "Be Mine". That's about it for our Valentine Festivities today. But it's enough.

I know a lot of people ignore Valentine's Day because they don't have someone special to share it with. It's easy to feel left out. But how about looking at it in a different way? Maybe this could be a day for reaching out and sharing some love with just about anyone. I'm not suggesting you pick up a stranger in a bar. But how about hanging out with your best friend? Or giving flowers to the old lady nexy door who never leaves her house? Or buying a turkey sandwich for a homeless person? You get the idea. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about sappy romantic love. It's about love in its many forms. Celebrate! Love is great! Let the whole world be your Valentine.

I think I'll go make Rick some scrambled eggs. If that doesn't say "I Love You", I don't know what does.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

comfort zone

I've been kind of a studio hermit here for the past eight years. I don't get out much, and I certainly don't stretch my comfort level to places of... discomfort. Why should I? Hmmm... then again, why shouldn't I?

I am not a clothes person. I share half of a small closet with Rick, and pick from a standard selection of jeans and black things. For me, the most important part of any outfit is the jewelry, and that's where I put my attention. I'm not even particularly comfortable in my own skin, which makes shopping for clothes no fun at all. In fact those little dressing rooms feel more to me like tiny, personal torture chambers. You will put this on, and you will look at yourself, in harsh light, and from all angles! I generally cry and run away. Ask my daughter.

A couple of days ago, a friend called me and asked if I would be willing to model for the clothing store she works for. Yes, model was the word she used. And without thinking, some insane part of me said, Sure! It sounds like fun! Of course, after hanging up the phone I realized I had lied. It did not sound like fun. It sounded terrifying. And because of that, I decided to go through with it.

So I drove out to the Overland compound yesterday morning, and arrived at Blue Fish at the appointed time. Jill was there, the wicked friend who had called me to do this bizarre thing. And Karena too, who had modeled the day before, and was back for another round. Off we went, to the back rooms of the oversized log lodge, and along with four other models, we were handed layers and layers of clothing I had no idea how to wear. Fortunately, we had a stylist, who gently guided us to wear this, then this, then this, and to put us in the right shoes and check our makeup before sending us downstairs to the empty restaurant we were shooting in. All day, up and down the stairs, in endless combinations of the newest collection, all in white, purple, and green. Not a smidge of black in sight. I was, most certainly far, far outside my comfort zone.

Fortunately, some of the models knew what they were doing, and were friendly and willing to help us novices. And Carol, the photographer, coached us through, click by click, until, by the end of the day, it wasn't really all that horrible. We finished up and then went into the store to shop for our payment. They pay in clothes. And even though I'd been in the store before, I didn't own anything from there because I didn't know how to wear it. But after a whole day of sashaying around in the stuff, I was better able to poke through the racks and find some pieces that suited me. I even found something black, and went home feeling sort of pleased with myself.

As I was leaving, Carol asked if I would go back next month to model for the next collection. And what do you know - that same insane part of me again said, Sure!, and marked it on my calendar. I guess, as we go along, the main point is not to be comfortable at all times. I don't think it's to be miserable either. But maybe stretching ourselves a bit beyond our comfort zone now and then can have a ripple effect into other areas of our lives. In this case, at the very least, I might get over my fear of fashion. And if it works out, maybe I'll even fill the guest room closet with beautiful, maybe even colorful, clothes.

I'm not sure when my pictures will show up on the Blue Fish website, but I'll probably let you know...

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Remember the funny little song in White Christmas that goes, Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...? I've been sponsoring sisters through Women for Women International for about three years now, and you know what? It makes me feel really good. I got a phone call this morning, asking me to tell three friends about Women For Women, and I said no... Why tell only three when I can tell everyone I know? So here you are. Looking for that perfect Valentine? How about a way of honoring a special woman in your life? Men can do this too. Betcha you'll get more sugar from your sweetie with this than with a bunch of roses that will be in the trash in a few days. Throw in some chocolate too and you'll be the best Valentine in town!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

my fellow americans

Still no time for chatter. I can't even begin to gather any thoughts, let alone organize them and present them in any kind of interesting way...
For now - how about another interesting diversion? Check out Kathleen Brennan's American Portrait Project. You'll find me in there. Twice, I think.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I'm frazzled and busy and have no time to talk. I don't know about you, but I could use a little comfort! Food is always good for that..... and bread is best, in my opinion! So I want to share this with you - Bread and Science have teamed up to create a whole new way of baking. and the bread is FABULOUS. Honest. We had some at friends' the other night, and Rick made a batch yesterday. It's easy, it's real bread, and it's obscenely good. This is all I want to eat until spring. Try it out. You will be converted and comforted without having to leave your kitchen.

Five Minutes a Day For Fresh Bread - at Mother Earth News!