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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the eyes have it

Evil Eye beads have been around for ages. I didn't make them up, but this week I really feel like making them. It all started with the dogs... When little Sarafina got hurt one day, on our watch, I felt like I wanted to do something more to protect her, and the rest of the pack. OK, maybe it's silly, but then we all know I'm a firm believer in silliness. After making beads for all the dogs, I still hadn't had enough of the eye theme, so I made a bunch for people too. I'll put them up in my BeadShop in a couple of days.

Today I'm back to making beads for pets. If I'm drawn to something, it might be a good guess that somebody else would want them too. Besides, is there anyone right now who doesn't feel just a little bit vulnerable? Anyone who couldn't use a little bit of extra protection? Not that I want to play on anyone's fears. Just the opposite. I want to encourage Fearlessness!

Kathleen said - What do you call those? Stink Eye Beads? I think the name is going to stick. What could be better than giving those pesky old Evil Spirits the Stink Eye? Ha! Take that!

Monday, March 30, 2009


There's another storm blowing outside my door today, and I'm tempted to grumble and feel picked on. Then my Inner Grown Up says, Shut Up! Have you seen the news lately, you twit? There's disastrous weather all over the country!

I got a note from my sister's in-laws yesterday. They live in Fargo.
Reading this up close and way too personal view of the situation, I can't help feeling that the media is playing the whole thing down, and I wonder why...
I'm at a loss as to how to help. I don't think there's much we can do from this distance at the moment, except to send all the prayers, light, love - call it what you like - that we can. Here's the letter...

Hi all,

I know most of you have been watching the Natonal News and know pretty much what is going on around here. Believe me, when I say it's much worse than you can imagine. We are thankful we moved to West Fargo nine years ago as so far we are high and dry. They have put a restriction on the city roads for emergency vehicles so we are all pretty much housebound. Homeland Security asked to have Fargo evacuated last night but the city officials are not going to do that yet, although many people have had to leave their sandbagged home because their dikes failed. One couple who lost their home in the flood of '97 had to leave again three days ago and later that night the house burned down. So sad. Malls and stores have been closed for a week and there will not be school even here in West Fargo all of next week. I have to say the City Council, etc. have really been very good with the planning of this flood protection. So many people in this area have horses and now we have over 150 horses housed in the fairgrounds just west of us. Also, they are taking in all pets at the fairgrounds for people who have had to evacuate. They have hundreds of pets already, as hotels, etc,. are not able to take them.

Our river is normally 14 feet high and today we are at 40 feet. It normally travels at 4 miles an hour and today it is travelling at 14 miles an hour with ice chunks on it. We are suppose to have a snow storm moving in tomorrow with another 6 inches of snow. Will it ever stop. Also we are expecting high winds which will put white caps on the water which will not be good for the dikes. Sandbags will only hold up so many days before theystart taking on water and leaking. We have 5 blackhawk helicopters here that have been rescuing people and today they are going to start dropping 100 lb. sandbags. Last night Oak Grove Lutheran school lost their fight as their permanent cement dike starting shooting out water in a 4 foot opening. They lost this campus in the "97 flood and rebuilt everything with this permanent dike up to 40 feet thinking they would be safe forever.

We have offered our home to people in Fargo if they do have to evacuate and yesterday we went over to the Sunmart store, just 2 blocks away from us to pick up some extra food and the shelves are almost empty. Water has covered a lot of both I29 and I94 so evacuating 120 thousand people will not be easy. Say a prayer, we need it. Betty

Sunday, March 29, 2009

still on hold, but holding on

It got cold again here. Even snowed a little bit a couple of days ago in that big storm that dumped on Denver. The poor little daffodils shivered and pouted, but they're hanging in there, waiting for the spring temperatures to return. They give me courage.

My cousin called me last night, from the Grand Canyon. He thought of me there, remembering how much I love the place. It made me a little bit wistful, wishing I was there too, to greet the condors as they return to the south rim after a long winter away. But again, there's reason to feel encouraged. Our plans to "go mobile" are well under way. We've even made a reservation at the Trailer Village at Grand Canyon, trusting that we'll actually have a trailer by the time we're scheduled to go there.

We still need to wait for a few things to line up, in their own sweet time of course. It all sort of hinges on the house re-finance closing, and that should happen this week. Then we just need to sell two vehicles, buy a big-ass truck, then buy a trailer, then find a suitable renter for our beautiful house, and then work like mad to sort and pack our stuff so we can be on our way by June 1st. Seems doable.

This has turned into a long process, but that's OK. Probably even perfect. It actually started a couple of years ago. There's been a continual stream of puzzles and set-backs, but of course, as always, these have been useful to us. We've had all the time we need to do the research, ask the questions, and make the right choices. Flexibility and Patience are key. And I expect we'll need to keep in tune with both of those things as we roll down the road. We'll take our cues from the daffodils, those persistent little wonders, who hold their heads up no matter what, and always trust the Process.

Friday, March 27, 2009

spring break

This past week has been a little... unusual. Our friend and neighbor, Kat, fell out of bed and broke both of her arms. Yikes! Terrible! And since her partner, Kathleen, was away visiting her very ill mother, we had Kat stay here with us for most of the week, along with their two little dogs. It's gone really well actually, and lots of other friends have stepped up to help too. But I have to say, having four dogs in the house has been a most amazing experience. Fortunately, dogs like to sleep a lot. But when they're all up and feeling playful at the same time, it's total chaos. Three of the four are small, and they're all used to being in someone's lap much of the time. Anyone who sits still for more than a minute will soon be surrounded by dogs on all sides. Our big dog Lucy feels a little bit left out, but she's not allowed on the furniture because, well, she's large.

Mercedes is the tan Puggle. Sarafina is the little black one, also part pug, I think. And you know Heidi, our own little Sorority Wiener Dog.

I love this picture. I had treats and a camera at just the right time. These girls will do anything for food. Mercedes even jumped up on the kitchen table one day and ate about four bowls of dog food. She must have been a poor little starving street dog in a past life, because she goes crazy over food.

I think our doggie guests will go back home this evening. They'll be good medicine for Kat. Man, I feel so bad for her though. After the surgery she's having today, she'll have pins in one hand, a plate in her other wrist, and no use of her hands at all. It's going to take a lot of help from all her friends. I'm glad we're right here, just a few doors down the street. We'll do what we can to help at the house, and maybe we'll get to bring the dogs over for some play dates. We've become sort of attached to them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

stringing along

I jumped right in and made something with the pretty strand of citrine I bought at BeadFest. I haven't made a lot of finished pieces in a while, but I'm rather pleased with this. Maybe I'll have time to have Kathleen Brennan photograph it for me before I sell it. It's not "logical" to make these big, expensive pieces these days, but so what. Sometimes you just gotta make something yummy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

good news from ethiopia

The following story arrived in my email this morning, from a friend at Project Mercy. It's nice to read some good news now and then. The photos were all taken at the compound. I can almost smell it! And it's particularly nice for me to see Marta and Deme smiling back at me here. I hope you enjoy the article.

(Click each image to make the pages larger so you can read them. If you want me to send the article to you as an attached document, just drop me an email.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

signs of spring

If you were on my Beadist Mailing List, you'd get lovely messages like this one, sent out today...

Hello Beadists ~
Watching for signs of spring, I noticed the first daffodil of the season yesterday, in Santa Fe, shyly unfolding its yellow petals in the wake of an early morning snow flurry. I find courage in the bravery of flowers, and joy in the playfulness of the prairie dogs, as they yawn and stretch after their long winter's sleep. Yes, signs of spring are everywhere, if I take the time to look. The sun beams warmer on my skin each day, and encouraged by that, I find myself drawn to some of the warmer hues in my glass palette. Somehow I feel the chill begin to lift, just looking at them. I hope you'll begin to thaw too, cheered by the beauty of nature, and of course, beads...

My best to you, as the seasons change, predictably, and still sometimes, surprisingly.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

bead show & tell

I just spent two days at BeadFest in Santa Fe, where I saw lots of beads, and even better, lots of favorite friends. Times being what they are, I didn't buy the usual ton of stuff I might have in past years, but I still found some lovely things that just had to come home with me. I didn't notice until I got it all together in one neat pile that I was operating on some kind of of theme. Just look at the colors; how everything gets along so well together, in a nice sunny sort of way. I can't wait to dig in and play with all of it. Ideas are bubbling up!

Monday, March 09, 2009


Ever hear of Amigurumi? Me neither, until a few days ago. It's the Japanese art of making tiny crocheted animals and other things. When my kids were little, I used to make little bears for them, but I had no idea I was doing Japanese Art. When I ran across this the other day, something in me was instantly smitten, and I went digging for my crochet hooks. I made the mouse that night, with a pattern I found online. The next morning I made the bear from memory. Pah! Who needs a pattern! Most of the Amigurumi I'm finding online is not felted, but since I'm also currently obsessed with felting, I decided to do that too. Next I want to try needle felting. I'm not sure I'll be able to make myself stab such cute little creatures repeatedly with barbed needles. Then again, I have no trouble drowning them in hot water and scrubbing them until they're fuzzy...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

big in japan

OK. I admit it. I've been avoiding my blog. I'm just so busy just trying to make ends meet, creative banter is about the last thing on my mind. But Rick and I have a Plan B under construction, so maybe things will ease up soon. What crazy scheme have we come up with now? Life on the road with the gypsies! If things work out, we hope to rent our house and hit the road in a trailer... for about a year. That way the house can take care of itself, more or less, and we can feel free to move about the country. All this sitting here and waiting is making us feel much too restricted. Time to shake things loose... if, if, if it all works out...
I'll keep you posted.

Lots of time in the studio can be good or bad, depending on how much fun I'm having. I was needing a break the other day, and got sucked into some "Amigurumi" web sites... little crocheted animals. It's big in Japan, and apparently here too, although I'd never heard of it before. Last night I made a very cute purple mouse, and this morning, a red bear. Very small, and relatively useless. Sometimes cute is enough. And while I was absorbed in all this Japanese stuff, a snip of graphic design caught my imagination, and before long, there were new beads in the works...

I'll show you my Amigurumi pets after I put their faces on...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


No time for blogging today. We're hosting Soup Night at our house, which is fun and low pressure, but still requires a bit of work... like making soup and cleaning up the house. But since I'm in a yarny frame of mind, here's a link daughter Julia sent me this morning: Yarnbombing. Now why didn't I think of doing knit and crochet graffiti?

Monday, March 02, 2009

amulet scarf update

A while back, I posted a pattern for a cool knitted "amulet scarf". I sent some of my Caviar Beads to my friend Maia, and she did a trial run of the pattern. It looks great, I think. She says to make your scarf longer than the pattern actually calls for. Here are her pictures. I think I'll make one too... after I make something with my lovely Twhirl yarn... I'm still enjoying the look of it sitting there waiting for me.