The Bead Dreamer’s blog is moving to a new home. It will still be a WordPress blog, I’m just moving it to my own domain. When I started the blog, I was focused on learning how to use the software, figuring out what to write about, finding my own voice. I thought about which blog platform to use and liked WordPress the best, still do. I did not even realize I also needed to consider where to host the blog, so I used WordPress and it worked just great.

But like so many things in life, we learn, we grow, we have different needs, and so it is time to move. Here’s where you can now find The Bead Dreamer’s Blog.


Photo courtesy of Kiva

There are so many desperate needs in the world today and like most people, I want to help.  The magnitude of some of the problems is almost beyond comprehension.  It is easy to become overwhelmed or to feel as though the contribution I can make is too small, it won’t make a difference.  I was feeling that way earlier today and then I saw Nora Leon’s blog and this quote:

“I can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

It helped me remember that small things matter.  I’ve assembled kits for women in Rebecca Sower’s Haiti by Hand group.  I’ll work on an instruction sheet showing them how to make the earrings as soon as I can get someone to photograph my hands.  Since we don’t speak the same language, I figure showing them is the best way.  My goal is to finish the kits and get a box to her next week.  I need to go to a craft store to get some small hand tools for the women.

I made a Kiva loan to the woman entrepreneur pictured above.  She is running a beauty parlor and needs help getting supplies.  Her name is Titilayo Ajakaye and she is from Nigeria.

Through Hope International, I purchased a hair dryer for a woman in the Dominican Republic, also running a beauty parlor.

Small things.  Done with love.  And they matter.

Photo courtesy of

Remember them?  Oh how I would love it when I would manage to get one.  I’d put it on and wear it intact as long as I could.  But eventually the candy was too much to resist and so I’d pull the necklace up and bite off a piece or two.  And I’d nibble again and again.  Before long, my neck would be sticky and candy colored from trying to wear the necklace and eat it at the same time.  Eventually, I’d take it off and finish the candy, savoring each piece until I was left with the sticky piece of elastic.

And I was happy with this simple childhood pleasure.  Funny the things you remember.  I wonder if I would like it if I ate one now…

Photo courtesy of Blair Candy

No candy was provided to me by either company.  I would eat it if some was and be sure to fully disclose the fact.

As an artisan, it’s important to me to continue to grow and develop my skills.  And so I work at it and play at it.  When I returned from Penland School of Craft this past summer, I knew I wanted to expand the type of jewelry I was making to fully capitalize on what I learned in the class.

In the car on the way back from Penland, I started making a list of those things that if I did them would further cement and expand upon what I learned in the class.  When I got home, I typed it up, posted it in a prominent place, and here it is.

Everything on the list is definite and concrete – something that is either done or not done.  There is nothing like – improve sawing skills – which you can never really finish because you can always improve.  Instead I have something like – cut out the details from one coin.

The bright pink marks are things I’ve completed.  Here and there I get pulled by other things a realize I haven’t looked at the list in a while.  When I realize it, I go back to the list and check it.  Sometimes I see that I’ve completed an item or two while doing other things.  Other times, I pick an item and get going.

What I especially like are those things that started out on the list but have now become ingrained in my arsenal of techniques.

Here are some of the things that I still need to do:

  • Make four folded, cut, and hammered leaves
  • Make two pieces with hinges
  • Select a historical piece of jewelry and create a design inspired by it using fragmentation and abstraction

I will get there.  I will.

Two of my friends and I have embarked on a collaboration project and I am very excited about it.  First, because I’ve wanted to collaborate with other artists and have tried at times, but my attempts never fell on fertile soil until now.  Secondly, both friends are amazing artists – one paints and the other is a collage and mixed media artist – so I know I will not only enjoy the process but also learn and grow from what happens.  And end up with a beautiful creation they both lent their time and talents to.

So, here’s what we’ve come up with.  Each of us will create an item of our own choosing.  We will then hand it to the next person who will embellish it and add the artistic elements of their choosing.  The second person then hands the item to the third person for them to further enhance.  Each item then goes back to its original owner altered in some way by the hands of the other two artists.

Everyone created their item and we made the first hand-off.  We made the exchange at lunch and everyone was excited to see what they would get to work with and also had questions about  any constraints or limitations the originator felt strongly about.

The collage shown above is what I received.  I think it is beautiful and I can’t wait to work with it.  I have an idea and I’m trying not to think too much about what the next person will do with it.  I want to add elements that honor it and express my point of view and where I am artistically right now.

A surprise occurred when the second friend also brought something for me to work with – a button she had painted on, some handmade paper, and a bit of raffia.  I’ve got an idea for it too that I’m excited about.

And here is the item I made and handed off.  It’s a copper rectangle with a second piece of copper that has a flowered pattern on it.  I really can’t wait to see it at the second hand-off and to get it back after the third.  OK, I really want all three pieces to come back to me, my two friends have said – no way.

I’ll put up photos of the collaboration project as it moves through the two phases and just enjoy the process however it goes.  I’ve already learned something from it.  I realize that I tried to exert some level of control in what came back to me.  I’ve let that go and am open to whatever occurs.

I hope we do this again.  It feels good and true.

Shiny new stuff and things from the past, the sweet simplicity, the deep complexity of walking through life with another person…

These are some of the concepts I tried to capture in this necklace, starting with an old key attached securely to a textured silver-toned metal plate.  That plate is firmly riveted to a second larger plate – this time darkened brass with multiple, random holes.  From the key and metal assembly hangs a shiny new heart – one filled with swirls of color – wondrous and inviting.  The chain – bright, shiny silver hearts, so delicate in contrast to the metal plate but strong enough to carry it.  A few crystals and tiny darkened brass hearts scattered up the chain complete the design.

The glass heart is from Valentine’s Day glass pendants and the silver chain from their collection of Valentine’s Day chain.

Disclaimer:  The glass heart and silver chain were provided to me free of charge as part of Beading for Bloggers program.  All other materials were supplied by me.

This evening I attended a concert in which my boyfriend played with his group.  And wow, did they do an awesome job.  The music was just beautiful, it was well attended, and I enjoyed just seeing him play – alive, free, and passionate.  To be on stage, to give one’s all, and to be recognized and appreciated is no small thing.  It won’t ever happen for me, my path is a different one, and a path I am happy with, but to him I say – I am proud.

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